Thu 6 May 2010
Today was very special — I found a Japanese pit viper (mamushi)! Every year I keep my eyes peeled for them, and I once found a dead one, but this is the first time I’ve been lucky enough to find a live one. It was just sitting there in the middle of the path in our local forest park (called fureiai-no-mori). As it was only about 40cm long and not so broad, I guess that it was quite young. Fully grown, they don’t get very long but they get much heavier. Anyway, it was an impressive and beautiful creature, and I was very happy to find it.
Lots of children play in the forest park so I decided that I should take the viper deeper into the forest. I picked it up, put it in my camera bag and took it home first so that I could show my kids. It’s now sitting in a vivarium awaiting its release tomorrow morning. My other reason for transporting it elsewhere is that it has a greater chance of survival. At the moment there are lots of workers in the forest park cutting back the undergrowth and making paths. If any of them found a viper, you can pretty much guarantee they’d kill it!
Don’t worry, although it looks as if I’m crushing its neck, I was very gentle… but holding tight enough that it wouldn’t be able to bite me! I wanted to get a photo of its fangs but it was too difficult to hold it and the camera and then try to prise its mouth open.
Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae (kusarihebi)
Gloydius blomhoffii blomhoffii
nihon-mamushi = Japanese pit viper
Location: fureiai-no-mori Forest Park in Munakata (map here)