The Spinning Tsuchinoko

| 31. July 2020 |

With snakes being a pretty vile, vicious, and slithery creature themselves it’s no surprise to have myths erected on the pedestal of snake-like qualities. Japan has always been famous for its legendary creatures. Some befitting into the reptilian category with dragons being the most notorious and celebrated myth. A snake-like mythical being that is found embedded in the Japanese folklore is the Tsuchinoko which means “child of the hammer” or “dirt child”. It has been referred to as dirt child because of its jet black appearance in its entirety, even the eyes.  In eastern Japan, it is more commonly referred to as “bachi hebi”.

Its sightings date back to almost 1400 years ago. They are described as a long wide snake-like being with a tapered tail. Their length varies between 12 to 31 inches with plaited scales that run across its body.  Its head and tail are of the same size as that of snakes the difference lying in their midsections. Its middle circumference is much more than it’s the body peripheries. It does not hiss but chirp or squeak. It is said to have fangs and venom like that of vipers with a pair of small horns on its head. It is said that the tsuchinoko can jump up to 1 meter in the air followed by a second jump while still hovering in the air. Some people believe that tsuchinoko swallows its tapered tail and goes about in circles like a hoop spinning. A quality, that helps it to chase after its prey with inhuman speed.

Legend has it that the tsuchinoko can speak, it has a knack for human voice imitation and a propensity for lying. So if one happens to hear their conversation being mimicked or a rat-like squealing from the depths of a damp cave its most probably said to be a sign of a tsuchinoko close at hand. It is even said to snore while sleeping.

Tsuchinoko is especially popular with media features. Many of the people know it from metal gear videogame series, in which it is edible. Castlevania series feature many popular cryptids and tsuchinoko is one of them. Tsuchinoko also appeared on the role-playing series Yo-Kai Watch and is an Endemic Life creature in Monster Hunter World. It has even become a tumbler meme these days. With its popularity, widely advancing tsuchinoko is becoming to be known worldwide.