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Taiwan Habu active in northern Okinawa

Date Posted: 2007-09-07

A deadly poisonous snake initially thought to have been illegally brought to Okinawa from Taiwan is creating problems in northern Okinawa.

The Taiwan Habu population is growing, and officials are trying to contain the snakes before they migrate southward. Onna Village’s Yamada, Shioya, Ukachi and Maeda areas are feeling the brunt of the venomous snake’s expansion. Some 125 Taiwan Habu have been captured already this year, the same number as in all of 2006.

Two years ago, officials say, only 24 snakes were caught. Onna Village has traps set at 150 locations to catch the dangerous snakes. Yamada Elementary School and junior high schools around the area have set protective nets in place. No humans have been bitten this year, but village office officials are worried. “We need everyone’s support in spotting and capturing the habu, so we can keep a peaceful environment.

Nago City’s Tamemata and Nakayama areas are feeling the snakes’ territorial expansion onto their turf. Koki Terada of the Prefecture Hygienic Environmental Institute says the Taiwan Habu is more deadly than other habu snakes, and warns that they move much more quickly. Terada also says the Taiwan Habu breeds more quickly.

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