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Student In Japan Films Japanese Giant Salamander Near Drainage Canal

The giant salamander is listed as near threatened by the IUCN.

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A Japanese student on his way to school happened upon a Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) that was away from the water and resting on the sidewalk. The Kyoto High School student who first spotted the amphibian, only identified as Yu, whipped out his cell phone and began filming the salamander, which started to walk back to the water. Yu then called the police, who came out to ensure the salamander made its way back into the water unmolested. Yu posted the video to YouTube, where it received more than 1 million views in just three days.

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Japanese giant salamanders are known as Ōsanshōuo in Japanese, which translates to giant pepper fish. They can grow up to five feet in length and are the second largest salamander in the world. The Chinese giant salamander (A. davidianus) is the largest in the world. They can be found on Kyushu, Honshu, and Shikoku islands.

The amphibian is listed as near threatened by the IUCN due to pollution and habitat loss. They were once a food source for people which also detrimentally affected their populations but hunting of them has stopped due to protections.

John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata