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Eleven Venomous Habu Snakes Escaped on Tokunoshima Island in Kagoshima Pref.; 20 Officials Searching for Them, Five Still at Large

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Habu snakes often seen in mountainous areas of Tokunoshima Island and Amami Oshima Island

Eleven poisonous habu snakes escaped from a display and keeping facility in Amagi on Tokunoshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, and six of them had been recaptured by Saturday. The town is calling for people to be careful and is searching for the escaped snakes.

According to the town, a tourist visiting the facility on Friday morning found one of the snakes outside, and upon receiving a call, an employee captured it. When they checked inside, they found that there were only five hubs instead of the 16 that were supposed to be there. Later, one was captured, but nine were missing.

The facility has a drain that lets water out during cleaning. The valve of the drain, which is normally closed, was left open, and it is believed that they escaped from there.

On Amami Oshima Island and Tokunoshima Island, where venomous habu snakes live, the local governments have a system to buy them for 3,000 yen each in order to prevent harm and to make serum. Amagi Town purchased 2,605 habu snakes in fiscal 2022 and 2,245 in fiscal 2023 as of November. The hubs are kept at a facility, and the health center picks them up once a week.

About 20 town employees searched for the snakes on Saturday. A total of four were captured, including one captured by a resident.

Searches are still being conducted on Sunday.

Courtesy of Amagi Town
Amagi Town’s hub house on the premises of the town hall