Habu snake

trimeresurus flavoviridis

[Japanese Name]habu
[Scientific Name]Trimeresurus flavoviridis
[English Name]Habu
[Dialect Name]habu
[Classification]Squamata Viperidae
[Distribution]Amami Island,Kakeroma island,Yoro-jima Island,Uke Island,Tokunoshima Island,Iheya Island,Ie Island,Okinawa Island,Tokashiki Island,Tonaki Island,Kume Island
[Source]Shoichi Sengoku"Color guide book of amphibian and reptiles"(IE-NO-HIKARI ASSOCIATION)

The information on this page was compiled from the source material found above.

The Ryukyu Islands are the home of the habu; it is one resident that visitors do not want to meet. There is a story that, during the Battle of Okinawa, American soldiers were more worried about being bitten by a habu than facing Japanese soldiers. The term habu refers to a family of snakes having a deadly venom, that is able to kill even large cattle with a single bite.

About 29 different species of snakes are found throughout the prefecture, seven of which live in the salt water habitat of the surrounding seas; the rest are terrestrial. Only five of the species of snakes on the islands are poisonous, the deadly ones being the habu and hime-habu on the main island, and the Sakishima-habu of Yaeyama and Iriomote. Interestingly, there are no habus on Miyako.

Nowadays there are fewer chances to meet this deadly denizen of the dark because of ongoing land development and the bright lights used at night around residential areas. A nocturnal animal, the habu lives in dark, damp places around the roots of trees and inside old stone walls.

If one were to be unfortunately bitten, a serum injection should be received within two hours.

The habu also has a good use; habu sake, a habu pickled in awamori, is considered a health tonic by locals, and is taken as a cure for many ailments.

One can safely observe the habu at the Habu Park at Gyokusendo in Gushikami Village or at the Ryukyu-mura in Onna Village.