If you thought the sky was safe, think again. In Japan, the sky and pretty much everything beneath it belongs to the crows.
Now you’re probably thinking: “Silly little crows? Oh come on, they’re not scary at all!” We’re not talking about any “silly little crows” here. We’re talking about Japanese crows (known askarasu), 0.6-meter-long (about 2 ft) intimidation machines found all over Japan that don’t rely on just their appearance and shrill call to horrify passerby, but their terrifyingly high level of intelligence as well.
Coconut crabs (known as yashigani in Japanese) may have a silly name, but not once you know the meaning behind it. They got their name because their claws are strong enough to crack open a coconut. They will climb palm trees to get the coconuts.
These things are not only the largest land-living arthropods in the world, but the largest land-living invertebrates in the world too. With a leg span of up to 0.9 meters (about 3 ft) and weighing up to 4 kilograms (9 lbs), it’s no wonder that they have no natural predators, aside from humans and other coconut crabs.
The shearing of the coconut crab have great power. One must be very careful. The crab may cut a finger from your hand easily.
They live on land. In the water they would drown.
Known as takaashi gani in Japanese, literally “tall-legged crab,” these guy are the largest arthropods on Earth. With legs one-meter (over three-ft) long, the result is a full leg span of over 12 feet (3.8 meters).
The reason these guys are only at number five is because they’re actually quite docile despite their monster-like appearance. They prefer to blend in to the bottom of the ocean floor by covering themselves with sponges and other sea animals, consuming basically whatever they can find.
Still, we’d rather not take our chances meeting one in person. These guys are found off the southern coast of Honshu, the main Japanese island, so we recommend staying out of the ocean there.
If you absolutely must see one of these things for yourself, then you can do so at the Osaka Aquarium.
Salamanders aren’t usually so bad, just some slippery little dudes that climb up walls and eat pests. The problem arises, however, when the salamanders are suddenly 1.9 meters (6.2 ft) long.
Japan and China’s Giant Salamanders (osanshouo in Japanese) are the largest amphibians in the world. They typically spend their time in the rivers of northern Kyushu and western Honshu (yet another reason to never go in the water), blending in with stones and mud so they can catch and eat basically anything that comes by: insects, fish, mice, crabs, hopes and dreams, pretty much anything.
They also cover their skin in mucus, which acts like a thin shield against scrapes and parasites. Their first act of self-defense is producing a milky, sticky secretion, making it not only one of the creepiest things we’ve ever seen, but one of the grossest as well.
Naoto Matsumura is the only human brave enough to live in Fukushima’s 12.5-mile exclusion zone
He fled at first but returned to take care of the animals that were left behind
He returned for his own animals at first, but realized that so many more needed his help, too
Matsumura, who is 55 years old, knows that the radiation is harmful, but he “refuses to worry about it”
“They also told me that I wouldn’t get sick for 30 or 40 years. I’ll most likely be dead by then anyway, so I couldn’t care less”
Matsumura discovered that thousands of cows had died locked in barns
He also freed many animals that had been left chained up by their owners
Many of them now rely on him for food
The government has forbidden him from staying, but that doesn’t stop him either
He started in 2011 and is still going strong 4 years later
He relies solely on donations from supporters to work with and feed the animals
His supporters are calling him the ‘guardian of Fukushima’s animals’
The man clearly has a sense of humor as well
AOSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one.
Originally introduced to the mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen's boats, the cats stayed on - and multiplied.
More than 120 cats swarm the island with only a handful of humans for company, mostly pensioners who didn't join the waves of migrants seeking work in the cities after World War Two.
Aoshima, a 30-minute ferry ride off the coast of Ehime prefecture, had been home to 900 people in 1945. The only sign of human activity now is the boatload of day-trippers from the mainland, visiting what is locally known as Cat Island.
With no restaurants, cars, shops or kiosks selling snacks, Aoshima is no tourist haven. But cat lovers are not complaining.
"There is a ton of cats here, then there was this sort of cat witch who came out to feed the cats which was quite fun," said 27-year-old Makiko Yamasaki. "So I'd want to come again."
The allure of cats is not surprising in a country that gave the world Hello Kitty, a cartoon character considered the epitome of cuteness. Cat cafes have long been popular in Tokyo, catering to fans who can't keep the animals at home because of strict housing regulations that often forbid pets.
The cats of Aoshima are not too picky, surviving on the rice balls, energy bars or potatoes they cadge off tourists. In the absence of natural predators, they roam the island without fear.
Not all the residents are admirers, though. One elderly woman shooed the animals away with a stick when they dug up her back garden. Locals are trying to keep the feline population in check - at least 10 cats have been neutered.
Residents haven't taken too kindly to the tourists either. They don't mind them coming, but want to be left in peace.
"If people coming to the island find the cats healing, then I think it's a good thing," said 65-year-old Hidenori Kamimoto, who ekes out a living as a fisherman.
"I just hope that it's done in a way that doesn't become a burden on the people who live here."
(Writing by Tony Tharakan; Editing by Paul Tait)