The other day I was walking along Minoo river and had the pleasure of spotting a pretty rare animal: a giant salamander, the Andrias japonicus or Japanese giant salamander.
According to Wikipedia, the Japanese giant salamander “reaches up to 1.44 metres (4.7 ft), feeds on fish and crustaceans, and has been known to live for more than 50 years in captivity.”
Also according to Wikipedia, they are the largest amphibians living!
Pretty amazing. I am so lucky to have encountered this guy!
Check out the video below. BE WARNED – I didn’t really edit it before uploading it and the audio is probably a little loud on the video load.
As it turns out, there are several of these giant salamanders in this same river. I have spotted three different ones at three different locations in the river. From the entry point in the state park up to the waterfalls that mark the terminus of the hiking trail in the state park, the river is about 2.1 kilometers. Now, I can’t be sure that I have seen all of the Japanese giant salamanders in this river, but I am sure happy to know the stomping (or splashing) grounds of these three. Not surprisingly, two of the salamanders are very difficult to spot due to the water movement and debris at the bottom of the river in the area immediately around where these two live. However, the video of the salamander posted here shows one area that the third salamander is rather easy to spot, if you get there at the right time of day and are patient enough.
Not only that, but it is quite easy to get to, and a good place to even be able to set up a tripod and go to work filming. Luckily, most people still seem pretty much clueless that there is a giant salamander just a couple of meters below them! I say lucky because invariably there would be some jackass who would want to jump in and play with the damned thing, or even worse, want to take it home for a pet or some stupid human trick like that. Egads.
I have actually returned a few times to the same location and can verify that the salamander is still alive and well, and seems to have a regular eating schedule… Or hunting schedule as it were. I was able to shoot more video of it out and about and even was able to get a good bit of its coloring in the video. I will be uploading that at a later date. It’s definitely something to look forward to!
I’ll keep you posted!