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Police Protection For Salamander Sunbather

Police Protection For Salamander Sunbather

Two uniformed Japanese police officers were called in to offer protection when a rare giant salamander decided to leave its stream in order to sun itself beside the road.

Looking rather like a giant tadpole the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) can grow up to 5 foot long.

Police spokesman Fuyuki Fujino said: "They are extremely rare and at first we thought the reports were mistaken as not only are they very rarely seen on land, but they also if they do come out it is usually only at night. So to see one lying beside the road apparently enjoying the sunshine is very unusual."

He said that experts estimated that the animal was probably at least 80-years-old and had ventured over from a nearby river where it lives in the fast flowing water that provides the salamander with enough oxygen and plenty of frogs and fish to eat.

Despite their large size they are relatively harmless and have little way to defend themselves apart from releasing a pungent odour when threatened that is often enough to put off most people from going near them.

After getting its police escort, the animal decided it did not like all the attention and crawled back over the grass where it slipped into the water and vanished.

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