Japan is home to many strange and interesting creatures from freakishly huge wasps to beautifully blue glowing squid, but perhaps one of the oddest is the seldom seen Japanese giant salamander or Ōsanshōuo as it’s called in Japanese.

Although they spend most of their lives underwater, every now and again you might just catch one making the trek onto land as the lucky Twitter user who found this guy did. From this image it might be hard to see exactly how big the Japanese giant salamander can be, but the following picture gives us a better sense of scale.

I’m not sure why the police were called in for this, but it’s possible someone thought the salamander was some kind of monster given its size and dropped a dime on it. Actually, some say that these animals were the impetus behind the legendary creatures known as kappa in Japan.

Probably those two officers were riding by when they saw the cuddly bundle of joy on the side of the river and stopped for a gander. Although their uniforms suggest serious business I can almost imagine them muttering dares of “Go ahead, touch it” and “No way. You touch it!” to each other.

Given the police presence we can probably assume that the slimy sightseer survived its surface sojourn and slipped back into the stream safely. This whole experience also serves as a reminder that next time you get the urge to take a dip in a river or stream, watch out for these guys sitting on the bottom.

Source: Twitter via Hamusoku (Japanese)
Video: YouTube – Jerry Maguire

Special Thanks to Raymond Chuang for finding a video of the little guy in action!