Artist Interpretation
Map of Japan
Type Reptile
First Sighting Nara Period, sightings possibly go back further
Last Sighting unknown
Country Japan
Habitat Farmland, Bamboo Groves
Possible Population Unknown

The Tsuchinoko is a snake-like cryptid from mountainous regions of Western Japan. In Japan, its name is ツチノコ or 槌の子 (meaning "dirt child"). These creatures are commonly reported as slithering deep within the watery caves of Shikoku and Honshu. Signs a tsuchinoko may be in your area include hearing a mouse-like squeak coming from a river, or in some cases, a seemingly human voice mimicking your conversations from the depths of a dank cave. They are reported to be between 30 and 80 cm long. The name "tsuchinoko" is used in Western Japan, however it is known as "bachi hebi" in Northeastern Japan.


Although there are some dependencies throughout the various sightings, the tsuchinoko is widely regarded to look like a very wide common snake with a tapered tail. Large, platelike scales run down its body, in addition to a set of small horns along the side of its head. It reportedly has fangs and venom similar to common snakes. Some accounts also describe the tsuchinoko as being able to jump up to a meter in distance followed immediately by a second jump while still in the air.

It is also referenced in the kojiki, the oldest book about the history of Japan.

In Popular Media

  • Metal Gear Solid series: Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops, in which it is edible, you can also keep it for some unlockables.
  • Castlevania series: As an enemy - the series is known to include several other, popular cryptids.
  • Yo-Kai Watch: It is a yoki, known as "Noko" in the English dub.
  • Space Dandy: In the episode "Nobody knows the Chameleon alien, Baby" QT discovers his love for tsuchinoko fishing, which lead him to catching an extremely rare alien that had shape-shifted into a tsuchinoko.
  • It appears in an online fake dead Japanese creature carcass website.
  • "After Man" book: As a creature named fatsnake which resembles a tsuchinoko.
  • Monster Hunter WorldThe 3.0.0 update of the game added a capturable Tsuchinoko which could be added as a pet to the player's room.
  • Kemono Friends : Tsuchinoko featured in episode 4, titled "Desert Area" having a more human-like appearance and is a character in the episode.
  • Pokémon: Dunsparce is based on the tsuchinoko, its Japanese name Nokocchi is an anagram of tsuchinoko.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game, Tsuchinoko appears as one of the monsters from the "Danger!" archetype as Danger!? Tsuchinoko.
  • The Disastrous Life of Saiki K : In season 2 episode 4 of the anime, the Taniguchi family find a dead tsuchinoko to become the 'garbage champions' during one of the episode's skits.


It could be a type of slug who's features became exaggerated over thousands of years.

An undiscovered snake species.


See Also

  • Ular Pendek, a similar, wide-girthed snake cryptid from Indonesia

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