Habu is the generic name for various venomous snakes found in the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa Prefecture.
These species of snake are all referred to as habu: the Sakishima habu (Trimeresurus elegans), the Okinawan habu (Trimeresurus flavoviridis), the Tokara habu (Trimeresurus tokarensis) and the Hime habu (Ovophis okinavensis).
The Sakishima habu (Trimeresurus elegans) reaches lengths of 50-100cm and is found in the Yaeyama Islands except Yonagunijima and Haterumajima.
The Okinawan habu (Trimeresurus flavoviridis) is a pit viper and can reach lengths of around 120-150cm on average. Though highly venomous, the bite of the snake is rarely fatal if treated in time but can lead to disability in some cases.
The slender Okinawan habu has a long strike range and should be avoided if spotted.
The Tokara habu (Trimeresurus tokarensis) is found on the islands of Takara-jima and Kotakara-jima and grows to between 60-100cm.
The Hime habu (Ovophis okinavensis) grows to between 30-80cm and has a relatively weak venom, though medical attention should be sought if bitten. The Hime habu is found on the Amami Islands and Okinawa Islands, except Aguni, Izena, Kikai, Okinoerabu and Yoron.
Habushu (ハブ酒) is a variant of awamori produced in Okinawa where a poisonous Okinawa habu snake is introduced into the bottle of awamori via various means. Habushu is supposedly a liquid alternative to viagra, promoting male sexual stamina, as the male habu snake seems to be able to sustain coitus for a very long time.
If you wish to know more about Japanese snakes baikada.com and the Snakes of Japan at homepage3.nifty.com/japrep/snake
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