Japanese Giant Salamander in Kyoto


It’s been all around the web for the past two or three days: a Japanese giant salamander was found on the banks of a Kyoto river.

If you’ve missed those pictures, here they are.

The  Japanese giant salamander (andrias japonicus in Latin, ōsanshōuo in Japanese) lives in Western Japan and can reach a length of two meters, even though one meter is a more common size. It lives almost exclusively in the water and is completely inoffensive. While, it is not endangered, it is threatened nonetheless, mostly because its natural habitat (Japanese rivers) is being covered with concrete more and more.

While, it’s quite exceptional to run into one in the streets of Kyoto, like the one that’s making the news now, they’re not that rare in the prefecture’s countryside.

However, if you want to see some up, close and personal, your best chance is at Kyoto Aquarium (it actually is the aquarium’s mascot):


Japanese giant salamander in Kyoto - 1


Japanese giant salamander in Kyoto - 2


Japanese giant salamander in Kyoto - 4


Japanese giant salamander in Kyoto - 3


Japanese giant salamander in Kyoto - 5


They also make very cute pets (sort of):




David Billa

David was born and raised in France. After a few years in the US and then back to his home country, life led him to the shores of the Seto Inland Sea in Japan. After falling in love with the area, he decided to show its beauty and all it has to offer with this blog.

2 Responses

  1. Haha, yeah, I noticed this story going around. I would have loved to see one of these things while I was over there.

    • While I knew about the Chinese kind, I actually had never heard that there were a Japanese subspecies until I visited the Kyoto Aquarium.
      I became an instant fan.
      I hope I see one in the wild one of those days (although the amount of time I spend in the wild in Japan is sadly almost non-existent).

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