Japanese Pit Viper

It’s a pity that this beautiful Japanese pit viper (mamushi) had been run over. It was on the path next to the road and it looked like a bicycle tyre had clipped its head. Luckily the snake was in a reasonable enough condition to be able to take some photos.

These are venomous snakes but you would have to be extremely unlucky to get bitten, since they are reclusive and slow-moving. They look worse than they are in reality and, according to the article on Wikipedia (here) of the around 3,000 people bitten each year, only ten die. Apparently, although the venom is quite strong, it’s very difficult for the snake to bite a human in a way that it can inject a large dose. I guess the only people who die are those people who try to pick them up to take photos (like me perhaps!!).

Gloydius blomhoffiiGloydius blomhoffiiGloydius blomhoffii

Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae (kusarihebi)
Gloydius blomhoffii blomhoffii (nihonmamushi) = Japanese pit viper
[Note: formerly Agkistrodon blomhoffii blomhoffii]

2 thoughts on “Japanese Pit Viper

  1. Hi Nigel,

    Nice site and a good resource when I can get to the net on things I’m seeing in Shikoku.
    I am currently doing the 88 Temple Pilgrimage and have bumped into a variety of snakes, but mainly mamushi. I managed to film one crossing the road in front of me, luckily, as the ones in the undergrowth on the yamamichi are just too fast/scared to hang around for the camera. Hope you like it:




  2. Hi Kemi,
    Thanks for posting the video on Youtube. Nice to see that.
    Good luck with your pilgrimage. Shikoku’s a beautiful place so I’m sure you’re enjoying it.
    All the best,

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