Carnivorous kaiju-lookalike doesn’t yawn because it’s sleepy, though.

Japan has a reputation for being a very safe country, and that extends to the nation’s wildlife as well. Yes, there are bears and poisonous blowfish, but you’re unlikely to encounter either unless you venture far into the woods or out to sea. Heh, you might even say you should be more worried about Godzilla attacking, but kaiju aren’t real, right?


Relax. That scaly creature there isn’t a gargantuan city-destroying monster. It’s just an Andrias japonicus, or Japanese giant salamander, a reptile that can grow to 1.44 meters (4.7 feet in length). Hmm…actually, that’s still pretty terrifying.

Also chilling is the fact that the giant salamander is carnivorous. It’s a little reassuring to know they feed on bugs and fish, not unsuspecting humans, but we can put another mark in the scary column due to the toothless Japanese giant salamander’s practice of swallowing its prey whole.

The animal, which can live to an age of more than 50 years, is at its most Godzilla-like when it yawns, but that’s something it does only about once every two weeks, in order to aid digestion, according to the staff at Tokyo’s Inokashira Park Zoo, which shared these photos.

Another unnerving thing about the giant salamander is that at first glance it appears to have no eyes…

…but the zookeepers have helpfully pointed out where they are, proving that the animal does not, in fact, navigate by sensing the fear emanating from anyone else in the vicinity (although its poor eyesight means it relies heavily on sensitive vibration sensors in its skin).

In addition to Inokashira Park Zoo, the Japanese giant salamander can also be seen in Tokyo at Ueno Zoo. If you decide to stop by the latter, don’t forget to also check out the penguins for even more freak-mouthed animal fun.

Related: Inokashira Park Zoo, Twitter/@InokashiraZoo
Insert image: Wikipedia/Throughthemind
[ Read in Japanese ]