Okinawa Prefecture Issues Habu Alert, Cautioning Vacationers

Okinawa Prefecture Issues Habu Alert, Cautioning Vacationers

Habu (photograph provided by the Okinawa Prefecture Eiseikankyo Research Institute)


May1, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Prefecture issued a habu-bite warning on May 1, as it anticipates increased habu activity as summer kicks off. In recent years, while there has been almost no cases of people dying from a habu bite, each year tens of people are bitten by the viper. There are many cases of people suffering from permanent damage after being bitten, and as such Okinawa Prefecture is calling for caution.

In 2016, there were a total of 56 reported cases of people being bit by habu. The majority of cases involve males with 42 reported bites, and 14 cases involving females. By type, there were 37 cases of habu bites, 5 cases of hime-habu bites, 13 cases of Sakishima-habu bites, and 1 case of a Taiwan-habu bite.

According to the prefecture, many cases involve people who work outside including bites that occurred when moving flower pots, harvesting fields, and raking leaves. Most of the cases involved extremities, with 25 bites occurring on the fingers, and another 10 on the lower leg.

In the notice, Okinawa Prefecture warns residents and visitors to take care by (1) making it hard for habu to inhabit or invade area by cutting grass short and exterminating mice, (2) taking proper caution when going in or out of rice paddies, mountain trails, and fields, as well as when walking at night and, (3) If you are bit by a habu, do not move quickly and get someone nearby to assist you.

(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)

Go to Japanese

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