Snake on a Japanese bullet train

A bullet train was halted in Japan the beginning of the week after a snake was found coiled on a passenger seat.

The red and black snake, measuring three feet in length, was discovered by a surprised conductor shortly before 9am on board the Kodama 642 bullet train just outside Kyoto in Shiga prefecture.

Staff immediately halted the train before a worker from a nearby animal protection centre was sent to the scene to remove the snake from the seat.

The reptile is currently being treated as lost property by police, who suspect it may be the escaped pet of a rail passenger. They are currently searching for its owner…

The animal is believed to be a Honduran milk snake, which is commonly bred in captivity and has become a popular pet choice due to its distinct colouring.

Bullet train operators normally request that passengers do not bring animals other than small birds or fish in containers on board their vehicles.

There are so many delightful differences in culture delivered on our cyber-doorstep in this article. We start by boarding a bullet train – something we’ll probably not see in the United States in the next couple of decades.

You peer across the sea at a culture that considers a companionship relationship with creatures other than human beings perfectly normal for adults – any kind of living critter – not just “acceptable” dogs and cats.

Then we see transportation staff treating the incident as lost goods from a perfectly ordinary passenger. Stateside, there could be a search of the train for poisonous snakes deliberately planted as part of a terrorist plot – eventually leading to a Congressional mandate for increased spending on searching train passengers – accompanied, of course, by a matching bill to reduce research in herpetology to keep the budget balanced.

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