The Wildlife of Okinawa

Okinawa Things to Know

Okinawa, Japan Jul. 23 Tues 2:33AM

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Some of the things that people are really interested to know, especially if they are animal lovers, are about the wildlife that can be found in Japan. The Okinawa Islands of Japan are perhaps one of the best places for biodiversity due to its environment and location. Due to its subtropical ot tropical location, with plenty of rain and sunlight, there are many species that can flourish here. There are some species that you should be aware of if you are planning a trip to Okinawa for safety reasons as well. Many of the untouched places on these islands continue to have a wide range of life, and the natural landscape makes you truly feel as though you've come to somewhere wonderful and relatively untouched.

Here are some of the wildlife you may encounter in Okinawa:

1.) Okinawa Coconut Crab

There are plenty of sea life on the shores of Okinawa. Crabs especially seem to be abundant in the tide pools and sands. Not the coconut crabs though! The Okinawa Coconut Crab mainly resides in some palm trees and return to ocean to lay their eggs. The Okinawa Coconut Crab is a type of crab that is found on most of the Okinawa Islands, but it is a terrestrial hermit crab without an exterior seashell. The crabs depend on the flora surrounding the coastline, and they eat plants, flowers, and fruits. 

If you encounter one of these crabs, leave them alone! They are known to be a rather aggressive species and their pincers can definitely do some damage. They are also considered a delicacy, but are considered endangered, so if you see one, it is kind if you let them be. 

2. Habu Snakes

One of the most well known, infamous creatures of the islands is the Habu snake also known as the Pit viper. There are signs posted all over the island cautioning people about these creatures. The Habu snake is a venomous snake that is considered a particularly aggressive species when provoked. People are encouraged to stay at least 3 feet away because the bites can be fatal. 

The Miyako Islands are known to be one of the few that do not have any habu snakes, so if your snake phobia is intense, this might be a better option for you to visit. 

There are many other types of snakes in Okinawa including a very venomous but docile sea snake, so but the majority are nonvenomous and non-dangerous.

Habu snakes can be found all over Okinawa

3. Okinawa Dugong

The Okinawa Dugong is one of the more cuter creatures of Okinawa, but they are extremely rare to see. This is because these majestic beauties are also endangered, and continue to be threatened due to destruction of its habitat by human forces. The Dugongs are mammals that resemble manatees and sea cows, and look like cuddly sweet creatures.

Okinawa Dugong, an endangered species

3. Ornate Narrow-mouth frog

There are many species of frogs in Okinawa. Some are larger than others, and you usually need to be actively looking for them to be able to spot it.

The Ornate Narrow-mouth frog is a very small frog, common throughout Okinawa, but are very hard to spot due to its small size. As many frogs are, these frogs are also great at camouflage, and can remain hidden under leaves and rocks.

Ornate narrow-mouth frogs are rare and found in Okinawa

4. Ryukyu Flying Fox

A type of fruit bat, these bats are found in Okinawa feeding at night. Although those who don't know much about these creatures might receive quite a fright seeing them, these bats actually feed only on fruit. Their faces look like foxes or little dogs, and they can sometimes be seen gliding through the air at dusk. Unfortunately, this beautiful species is also considered an endangered species.

5. Hairy Caterpillars

There are quite a few different types of caterpillars that are found in Okinawa. Most of these caterpillars turn into moths, some of them huge like the Atlas moth (aka Yonaguni-san). But beware! Some of these caterpillars possess toxic spikes that can irritate your skin if it comes into contact with it. Although its not life threatening, some people may form allergic reactions that can be far more serious. These caterpillars come in a wide range of colors, and some are actually quite pretty. Just look but don't touch!

These were just five of some of the wildlife that can be found in Okinawa. There are so many more creatures that haven't even been touched upon including the creatures in the ocean like jellyfish and octopus. Keep on the lookout for a blog detailing a few more creatures in the future on our Destination Japan Blog page!

Want to know what creatures to watch out for?
Wildlife to Watch Out for in Okinawa

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