Snake on a (bullet) train.
Not only will the Shinkansen get you quickly and conveniently from one end of Japan to the other, the high-speed train will show you some beautiful scenery along the way. So on the morning of September 26, one passenger in the eastern Kanto region hopped on the Nozomi limited express, bound for Hiroshima, and sauntered towards a window seat, no doubt looking forward to seeing beautiful mountains, lush forests, and harvest-ready fields whiz by at 300 kilometers (185 miles) per hour.
Unfortunately, it turned out that the seat was already occupied. Even more unfortunately, the occupant was a 30-centimeter (11.8-inch) snake. Nevertheless, it showed the sort of courteousness that so characterizes rail travel in Japan, politely wrapping itself around the armrest so that a human passenger could still sit in the seat.
However, the human who found the snake chose to decline this kindness, and instead informed the staff of the animal’s presence. The train made an unscheduled stop at Hamamatsu Station in Shizuoka Prefecture where police officers boarded the train and without further incident captured the snake, which zoologists say appears to be a young elaphe quadrivirgata, or Japanese striped snake (the same species as shown in the above photo). No passengers were harmed during the animal’s truncated ride.
The Shinkansen has regulations which prohibit passengers from bringing dangerous material onboard, which an unsecured snake certainly qualifies as. None of the passengers, though, admitted to being the owner of the snake, which can be found in the wild of Japan. The authorities are currently investigating how the creature managed to get all the way to its window seat without anyone noticing it.
The snake’s intended destination and whether or not it subsequently reached it remain unknown.
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