※ Crested serpent eagle (kamuri washi in Japanese)
Protected specie, this beautiful eagle is about 60 cm high. This is also Ishigaki mascot you will be able to see, notably at the aiport. On rainy days in particular, the eagle waits for the frogs on the side of the road. Perched also on the road gardrail or over the road in the trees, you may be able to see it on the road between Kabira and Yonehara, among other spots (see the map below).
※ Habu snakes
In summer as in winter, always be careful! Venomous and nocturnal reptile (viper type), the habu is in principle not aggressive. Its bite is very painful (intense burn feeling) and venomous.
The habu is located where nature is, also you will not see it down town. For your safety, never walk in long grass without any protection, in daylight as well as at night. You may walk on it and as a defensive response, would get bitten. When it's dark use a lamp to see where you walk and on what you may walk.
NB: The habu snake of Ishigaki (Sakishima habu snake) is less venomous than the habu snake of Okinawa main island.
The habu is also used for the conception of an alcohol made of awamori: the habu-shû.
What to do in case of a habu bite?
→ First check this is really a habu (look well at the picture, the habu skin pattern is very representative. As the viper its head is triangular)
→ Call for help. Local people will know how to help you
→ Never make any tourniquet on the wound. On the contrary, clean off and drain off the contaminated blood.
→ Suck the blood with your mouth and spit it. If you have been bitten to the feet, make a tight bandage to the leg. If you have been biten to the hand, make a tight bandage to your arm (to prevent the contaminated blood to go up to the heart).
→ Go to the hospital as fast as possible
※ White-breasted waterhen (Shirohara kuina in Japanese)
It's a cute 30cm waterbird with a white head and breast and a long neck, looking somehow like a small penguin. Many of them die because of the cars. The bird usually starts to cross the road and goes back as a car is approaching it. Please slow down if you see it! At the opposite crows are fast, cars don't hit them.
※ Semaruhako turtle (Semaruhakogame in Japanese)
Beautiful turtle you may see in natural areas. Protected specie.
※ The scorpion (picture: madara sasori)
In Ishigaki there are at least two sorts of scorpion of very small size (few centimeters). The sting doesn't hurt much. The venom is not virulent.
※ Ryukyu island ruddy kingfisher (Ryukyu Aka-shobin)
Protected specie, the ruddy kingfisher has a red beak (and very long) as says its Japanese name. Its high-pitched cry is beautiful. The best chance of the year to see it is May (April-September).
(Picture: Ruddy kingfisher on a palm tree in the garden)
Harmless small lizard found inside the houses. In Japanese name 'yamori' means it protects the house. Gecko eats the small insects here and there.
※ Centipedes: mukade (right side photo) and habu mukade (left side photo)
The mukade is present everywhere on the Japanese territory. It's a black-orange venomous centipede of 10-20 cm long. The mukade lives in hot and humid countries, under the rocks and in the soil. It has two hooks it injects the venom with. When bitten it starts to inch and quickly it turns to a strong pain.
In Okinawa and Ishigaki, you may meet the habu mukade as well. It is easy to recognise it because its head is red. In case of a bite, go to the hospital. In case a child is bitten, call the emergency. Never forget to kill the mukade if you got bitten inside your room.
What to do if you get bitten by a mukade?
→ Pinch the skin to extract the poison (it hurts!)
→ Administer compresses of boiled water to help with extracting the poison
→ Administer compresses of iced water to relieve the pain
→ Go to the hospital if this is a habu mukade (red head mukade)
You will see white goats here and there on the island. Local people grow them and sell them for their meat. On the island goat soup (yagi-jiru) is a famous meal.
※ Ohgomadara butterfly (left side picture)
All year round in Ishigaki you will be able to see different species of butterflies.
The Ohgomadara butterfly is black and white, it's a protected specie.