SHIZUOKA (TR) – A rogue rat snake brought a Shinkansen bullet train to a halt on Monday after a passenger spotted it wrapped around a window-side armrest.
Police were called after a female passenger told train staff a snake was coiled around her armrest near the window when Shinkansen bullet train Nozomi 103 bound for Hiroshima from Tokyo was traveling between Shin-Fuji Station and Shizuoka Station at around 9:40 a.m., the Sankei Shimbun reports (September 26).
The train stopped at Hamamatsu Station as Fuji News Network quoted a surreal announcement as saying a “snake retrieval attempt is now under way. Please wait until the train resumes operation.”
Another announcement followed minutes later saying the “snake has successfully been captured. Thank you for your cooperation.”
The 30-centimeter ratsnake was initially thought to be a python until its species was confirmed by an expert.
Police believe the creature was left behind and are now searching for its owner.
Takeshi Shirowa, director of a zoo called iZoo in Shizuoka Prefecture, told the Sankei the rat snake was “probably an offspring of a native species that wasn’t cross-bred here.”
“It probably slipped in by hitching a ride on passenger or worker luggage,” Shirowa said.