Discarded dog becomes snake hunter

Discarded dog becomes snake hunter

Habu snake hunter dog Hatchy and the owner Tsugimichi Toma in Uruma on October 25.

October 30, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Discarded dog Hatchy is now famous as a habu snake hunter in Uruma. One day, the dog smelled the scent of a coiled poisonous Habu snake on the street and saved the owner Tsugumitsu Toma. Toma and Hatchy regularly take walks near Uruma City’s Katsuren office building through a school zone where Yokatsu High School, elementary and junior high schools are located. The dog helps protect school students and children from snakes.

Hatchy was an abandoned dog. Toma felt compassion toward the dog, which hung around outside his house. He decided to let the dog live with him three and a half years ago. Hatchy is now an adult dog with a talent for finding habu. The dog has caught three Habu so far.

On the night of October 23, when Toma went for a walk with Hatchy, the dog found a Habu near the owner’s feet. He barked at it and braced to attack, getting Toma’s attention. Tomo killed it, avoiding a snake bite.
The snake was 1.6 meters long. Toma said, “It was really close. If I was one moment later, I would have been bitten by the Habu. Hatchy saved me.”

Toma rewards Hatchy when the animal finds snakes, and makes him smell the captured Habu to train him to search for snakes. Habu snakes have a distinctive smell.

“Hatchy is a quick learner. I am glad, so glad to have Hatchy,”Toma said. He warns neighbors and children, saying, “We find small Habu snakes often but sometimes we find more than two meter-long Habu snakes in the area, where children pass by. Be careful.”

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)

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