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Rare snake found hiding under pot at resident's home in eastern Japan

The Oriental odd-tooth snake is pictured in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Oct. 21, 2020. (Mainichi/Toshiaki Hashimoto)

KASHIWA, Chiba -- A rare Japanese snake in danger of disappearing from Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo was spotted at the home of an 80-year-old resident in the prefecture on Oct. 21, hiding under a pot that he happened to move.

    The Oriental odd-tooth snake, which is on the prefecture's red list of endangered wild species, was found at the home of 80-year-old Masaaki Hanada, a resident of the prefectural city of Kashiwa.

    Hanada says when he moved a pot in his garden, the snake, which had been hiding underneath it, slithered out. Hanada sent a photo of it to the prefectural government's Chiba Biodiversity Center, which confirmed that it was an Oriental odd-tooth snake (Dinodon orientale).

    The snake was about 20 centimeters long, and had black and gray stripes. The center said it was apparently quite young. "There aren't many surviving in the prefecture, so they're precious creatures," a center representative said. "Because they're nocturnal, sightings of them are rare."

    (Japanese original by Toshiaki Hashimoto, Kashiwa Local Bureau)

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