If you thought the sky was safe, think again. In Japan, the sky and pretty much everything beneath it belongs to the crows.
Now you’re probably thinking: “Silly little crows? Oh come on, they’re not scary at all!” We’re not talking about any “silly little crows” here. We’re talking about Japanese crows (known askarasu), 0.6-meter-long (about 2 ft) intimidation machines found all over Japan that don’t rely on just their appearance and shrill call to horrify passerby, but their terrifyingly high level of intelligence as well.
Coconut crabs (known as yashigani in Japanese) may have a silly name, but not once you know the meaning behind it. They got their name because their claws are strong enough to crack open a coconut. They will climb palm trees to get the coconuts.
These things are not only the largest land-living arthropods in the world, but the largest land-living invertebrates in the world too. With a leg span of up to 0.9 meters (about 3 ft) and weighing up to 4 kilograms (9 lbs), it’s no wonder that they have no natural predators, aside from humans and other coconut crabs.
The shearing of the coconut crab have great power. One must be very careful. The crab may cut a finger from your hand easily.
They live on land. In the water they would drown.
Known as takaashi gani in Japanese, literally “tall-legged crab,” these guy are the largest arthropods on Earth. With legs one-meter (over three-ft) long, the result is a full leg span of over 12 feet (3.8 meters).
The reason these guys are only at number five is because they’re actually quite docile despite their monster-like appearance. They prefer to blend in to the bottom of the ocean floor by covering themselves with sponges and other sea animals, consuming basically whatever they can find.
Still, we’d rather not take our chances meeting one in person. These guys are found off the southern coast of Honshu, the main Japanese island, so we recommend staying out of the ocean there.
If you absolutely must see one of these things for yourself, then you can do so at the Osaka Aquarium.
Salamanders aren’t usually so bad, just some slippery little dudes that climb up walls and eat pests. The problem arises, however, when the salamanders are suddenly 1.9 meters (6.2 ft) long.
Japan and China’s Giant Salamanders (osanshouo in Japanese) are the largest amphibians in the world. They typically spend their time in the rivers of northern Kyushu and western Honshu (yet another reason to never go in the water), blending in with stones and mud so they can catch and eat basically anything that comes by: insects, fish, mice, crabs, hopes and dreams, pretty much anything.
They also cover their skin in mucus, which acts like a thin shield against scrapes and parasites. Their first act of self-defense is producing a milky, sticky secretion, making it not only one of the creepiest things we’ve ever seen, but one of the grossest as well.
食べ盛り , originally uploaded by maisuke* .
This was an honest and interesting first part in a series of interviews with a Zen Monk.