“Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?”
August 11, 2015 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Visiting Tokyo Snake Center: A 'Snake Cafe' in Jingumae, Shibuya Ward [YouTube]
Who needs a cafe full of cute kittens or fluffy owls when you can unwind and enjoy a refreshing beverage in the company of …SNAKES! A new snake-themed cafe has just opened up in Tokyo that makes such beautiful dreams possible. For a mere 1000 yen, patrons can enjoy a spot of orange juice and a sit-down with a non-venomous viper. [via: Crunchyroll]
Official Site: Tokyo Snake Center
posted by Fizz (63 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think they are misunderstanding the central appeal of the cat cafe.
posted by Artw at 6:06 AM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I've also prepared a selection of "nope" .gifs for those who feel it is appropriate.

1. Nope
2. Nope
3. Nope
4. Nope
posted by Fizz at 6:07 AM on August 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh gosh yes please, let me pet all the kawaii snake-chans.

eeee they are adorable
posted by Sokka shot first at 6:12 AM on August 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


SNAKE CENTER

sounds pretty nasty

SNAKE CENTER

pretty much is

SNAKE CENTER

it's a reptile house

SNAKE CENTER

brrrrr
posted by Kitteh at 6:13 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Check your cat to make sure it is not actually a snake today: for instance, the tail should have a cat attached.
posted by Artw at 6:16 AM on August 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


What? No "whydidithavetobesnakes" tag?

Mefi, you disappoint me sometimes.
posted by eriko at 6:17 AM on August 11, 2015


Check your cat to make sure it is not actually a snake today: for instance, the tail should have a cat attached.

oh crap
posted by Kitteh at 6:18 AM on August 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wake me up when the Snakes & Kittens Cafe finally opens.
posted by fairmettle at 6:21 AM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Those look like some boring boxes for the snakes during opening hours. Astroturf and bright lights don't seem like a relaxing environment.
posted by asok at 6:27 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


A guy at my high school would periodically bring his snakes to school in a tied up pillow case and leave them writhing around on the floor during class. He was insane, and this is a horrifying nightmare realm filled with monsters.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:27 AM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Note, the snakes shown are not "vipers"....
posted by HuronBob at 6:33 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Beyond the concept of a snake café itself (which strikes me as serving an unmet need: lots of people want to encounter and hold snakes, but pet stores and zoos aren't always the best place for it), nothing strikes me as out of the ordinary here: the species are standard pet store varieties (I had no trouble identifying them), the individual snakes seem calm and gentle and acclimated to human contact, and they seem to be looked after properly. It isn't all that different from the public outreach programs that many reptile zoos and hobbyists do (myself included); it's just in a different setting.

asok: In my experience snakes aren't much for intellectual stimulation. Small boxes are actually ideal: they feel more secure in enclosed spaces (one of many ways in which snakes are like cats), and it doesn't seem to matter if they're transparent.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:36 AM on August 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Note, the snakes shown are not "vipers"....

Not to mention there is no such thing as "a non-venomous viper". The amateur herpetologist in me would love to have a refreshing beverage at that cafe. Which I guess makes me a bit of an outlier here.
posted by TedW at 6:36 AM on August 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


.
[Previously]
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:42 AM on August 11, 2015


I grew up in a house with 100 snakes in the basement. My sister, a biology teacher, traveled from school to school showing the animals that she had acquired. Back in the day she was the equivalent of an animal rescue center, she was so well known in our town that when someone came across a bird, snake, fox, skunk, raccoon, hawk, owl, 'possum, deer, frog, toad, chipmunk, rat, bat, mouse, shrew that they thought needed to be rescued (which was seldom the case, most would have been fine if just left alone) , it ended up at our house...

I was 11, and this was probably the greatest life EVER! I watched TV with a Great Horned Owl that lived in a box in the living room, we had a skunk (glands removed) that acted like our cat, two foxes that lived out in the yard for a while until they could be released. Injured hawks that lived in a makeshift aviary in the yard (thus the scar from my eye to my lip when one of the Red Tailed that were being rehabbed lunged at me during a feeding)... Did I mention that this was GREAT for an 11 year old?

Best snake story, was the 6 inch baby python that she had... when she got married and moved, she gave the snake to her mentor, Clarence Owens...another biology teacher... I went back 15 years later to visit him, he still had the snake, it was then about 20 feet long...

I regret not opening a coffee shop in the basement....
posted by HuronBob at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


Are you saying me need some kind of... Honeybadger Cafe?
posted by Artw at 6:44 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


mcwetboy, I was about to ask if this kind of environment would stress out the snakes - I don't know much about snakes, but I can think of some other reptiles that might find it pretty upsetting.

And yeah, I would be all over this too. I always get really excited when I come across a snake while I'm hiking, although I nearly traipsed onto a sleeping 5-foot rattlesnake once (when the shock wore off I was all "cool, I saw a 5-foot rattlesnake up close!" and then "wow I should never let myself get that close to stepping on a rattlesnake again!").
posted by teponaztli at 6:44 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can friends come with me to visit this place or does it have to be a ... solo sneaking mission?
posted by sparkletone at 6:50 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


teponaztli: mcwetboy, I was about to ask if this kind of environment would stress out the snakes - I don't know much about snakes, but I can think of some other reptiles that might find it pretty upsetting.

Wild snakes would with very few exceptions not tolerate this very well at all. These snakes are almost certainly captive-bred, which makes a big difference in temperament, and will be well-habituated to human contact or they simply won't be used (biting your customers is bad PR). Snakes put to work in this way have to be the herpetological equivalent of police horses: basically bomb-proof.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:55 AM on August 11, 2015


I wish snakes were all docile and nonpoisonous. I would bling myself out in blue Malayan coral snakes and go clubbin.
posted by echocollate at 7:02 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


isn't there a significant salmonella risk with snakes in an enciroment like this?
posted by Artw at 7:05 AM on August 11, 2015


Not to mention there is no such thing as "a non-venomous viper". The amateur herpetologist in me would love to have a refreshing beverage at that cafe. Which I guess makes me a bit of an outlier here.

Yeah, I assumed that "non-venomous viper" meant they'd defanged actual vipers or something and was immediately horrified. Glad to know it seems to be more things like interesting morphs of corn snakes and boa constrictors.

I have to say, the different animal cafes I'm hearing about worry me because of the potential for stressing out the animals. Not so much this one or the cat cafes--I don't know that much about snakes, but everything I do know backs up what mcwetboy is saying. But there's stuff like owl cafes and falconer cafes, which birds that are going to be mostly wild, much more easily stressed out, and also considerably more likely to injure someone if the birds panic. I'm way more comfortable with species which are routinely kept as pets being used as showcases, because you can find "police horse" individuals that aren't going to be stressed out or upset by all the human attention.
posted by sciatrix at 7:09 AM on August 11, 2015


Wasp Cafe turned out to be a bit of a disaster.
posted by Artw at 7:12 AM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Do the vipers vipe the vindows too?

Snakes are awesome. I love handling snakes and will gladly let a python crawl up my sleeve, but I don't need to handle them while I have my coffee.
posted by bondcliff at 7:12 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Snakes are okay (as long as they're not biting, obviously), but in my experience they're some of the boringest pets around. Just basically sit around all week and periodically eat a mouse. Whoopetydoo?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


excuse me but i believe this is called a snafe (snake cafe)
posted by poffin boffin at 7:14 AM on August 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


These animal-themed cafes are getting out of hand.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:21 AM on August 11, 2015


It's Snake Center, check it and see
They got some snakes, about a hundred and three
C'mon snakey, do you do more than sleep?
It's Snake Center, it's Snake Center!
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:23 AM on August 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Wasp Cafe turned out to be a bit of a disaster.

Don't know what you mean - every time I go into a Starbuck's, they're all over the place.
Actually, you might have a point. I'm not sure they're all Protestants…
posted by zamboni at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Buy nine snakes and get the 10th for just one yen!
posted by eriko at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2015


It's at the end of the street after a Badger Cafe, a Badger Cafe, a Badger Cafe, a Badger Cafe, a Badger Cafe, a Badger Cafe, another Badger Cafe, and two Mushroom Cafes.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I hate it when people get all hysterical about snakes, spiders, whatever. It makes me want to slap them across the face.
posted by ChuckRamone at 8:03 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


snakes are our cuddlesome scaly frands who only want a nice warm rock to curl up on and some vermins for snacks.

SNEKS!
posted by poffin boffin at 8:06 AM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Artw: isn't there a significant salmonella risk with snakes in an enciroment like this?

Some, but not as much as you might think. As I understand it, salmonella is present in the feces of birds and reptiles and is spread by fecal-oral contact. Get your minds out of the gutter: there are several intermediate steps.

With aquatic turtles salmonella is a problem because the turtles defecate in their aquarium water: people get salmonella from turtles by handling wet turtles and not washing up afterwards -- it gets from the turtle to the water to the hands to the mouth. (Since 1975, the sale of turtles in the U.S. has been restricted to those with a carapace of four inches or more in diameter because of reports that children were putting turtles in their mouths: that's one good shortcut for fecal-oral contact.)

With non-aquatic reptiles it's somewhat more difficult to contract, because their feces isn't contaminating their entire cage. A dry snake is considerably less of a salmonella risk than a wet turtle, but you don't want to be handling their feces or areas freshly defecated on, or the snake if it's been tracking through its own mess, without washing your hands afterwards.

This is why public reptile demonstrations tend to be very strict about people washing their hands after handling their animals.
posted by mcwetboy at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is making me really optimistic for the success of my proposed tarantula cafe.
posted by happyroach at 8:36 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're fuzzy!
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on August 11, 2015


I guess I'll just share this here: Yesterday my husband came home from an overseas rainforest trip and left his carry-on bag open on the living room floor. This morning we woke up and our (indoor) cat was swatting a small, freshly killed snake around under the dining room table. I've never even thought of seeing a snake in this house before and I've lived here forever. But can snakes actually get themselves on a plane? And how many at a time??
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:54 AM on August 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


That cat must think you are the best kitty parents ever.
posted by Artw at 8:58 AM on August 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


They're the opposite of fuzzy! And that's a good thing! If I'm having coffee and a croissant, I don't want cat hair in it, but a snake wouldn't do that. And you can pet and appreciate the snakes, even if they don't reciprocate.
posted by Rangi at 9:20 AM on August 11, 2015


But there's stuff like owl cafes and falconer cafes, which birds that are going to be mostly wild, much more easily stressed out, and also considerably more likely to injure someone if the birds panic.

From my understanding, all the birds in owl and hawk cafes here in Japan are raised as pets, as it's illegal to keep wild birds in captivity. And animal cafes are all strictly licensed and regulated, so I doubt that anyone skirts the law.

I've been to several owl cafes myself, and the birds seem to be treated like well-cared-for pets, and seem acclimated to human contact.

Parrot cafes, on the other hand - those are some crazy birds....
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:30 AM on August 11, 2015


And you can pet and appreciate the snakes, even if they don't reciprocate.

They love giving hugs!
posted by zombieflanders at 9:32 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't get enough of these motherfucking snakes with my motherfucking low fat decaf cappuccino with shaved chocolate and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:43 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hate it when people get all hysterical about snakes, spiders, whatever. It makes me want to slap them across the face.

Many people are wired with a phobia of snakes(/spiders/rodents/heights/etc). It's irrational (well, except when it isn't), we know it's irrational, but it's ingrained and powerful. You can't 'fix' it just by aggressively saying how much people with those phobias are idiots.
posted by Drexen at 9:54 AM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, yeah. But it's also kind of irritating to be a human who likes snakes and spiders for their own sake and to have every goddamn discussion on those topic derailed by MeFites rushing in to yell "NOPE NOPE NOPE." Maybe people with phobias could avoid clicking on topics titled "Snakes"?
posted by sciatrix at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


My main concern with visiting a cafe like this one is not so much the "OMG?!! SNAKES!! RUN!" aspect, but quite the opposite. It would be what has already been mentioned somewhere up above.

Are these animals being treated humanely and with respect? Am I contributing to something that is making them feel worse? Am I supporting an industry that causes more harm?

And I completely realize that this would probably be a better way to make my purchases in general, I only tend to pay attention when it impacts animals. Something about the harming of animals just makes me hyper aware of the politics, and I'm always concerned about what my supporting amusement parks, circuses, zoos, etc. does in the long run.
posted by Fizz at 10:03 AM on August 11, 2015


I love seeing snakes out and about and I'd love going to this cafe. My only real worry wouldn't be the snakes but potential customers who might harm them.

I think I'll install a Mr. Coffee in my workshop. I invite y'all to the opening of

Those Wispy Spiders
(That Build Stupid Long Webs)
(That Don't DO Anything But Get in Your Face)

&
Dessicating Pillbugs
(And Soon to be Dessicated Pillbugs)
Cafe

I recommend the Crustacean Carapace Crunch.

posted by maxwelton at 10:41 AM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I guess I don't really understand snake fear. Snake CAUTION of venomous ones, sure, because having your blood turned to jam while still in your veins is pretty terrible. But once I've been told "hey this lil dude is harmless" I definitely don't get anything remotely like the visceral clammy flailing horror around them like I do with various creepy crawlers of creepitude, and afaik there isn't any particular reason WHY I don't have the fear. Maybe I hugged a snake in kindygarden, who knows.

meanwhile fish remain terrifying beyond words, why are they allowed
posted by poffin boffin at 11:07 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


it's because they are delicious. fish exist on this earth because they are far more delicious than any other form of life. especially eels, they're like all the good things about snakes and fish all rolled into one.

mmmmmm eel.
posted by sciatrix at 11:09 AM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


What gives me the allover creeps is the yen to create ever more "morphs." I realize I'm like the only person on the planet who doesn't think albino everything is awesome or that you should try your whole life to make something that has been brown for twohundredthousandyears instead all of a sudden be red. I don't care about that. I'm right; everyone else is wrongwrongwrong. It's perfectly greatlooking just as it is quit breeding everythign to the point of madness and leave it aloo9ooooooooone. Is your mucking around going to produce anything prettier than this? No, right? Right, because that would be impossible. So then cut it the hell out.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:26 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Now that I've thought about it a bit, a mushroom café would actually be really excellent. If it was cool, and there was also some moss and running water, I would probably spend most of my time there.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:24 PM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Now that I've thought about it a bit, a mushroom café would actually be really excellent. If it was cool, and there was also some moss and running water, I would probably spend most of my time there.

Wolfdog, I'm picturing something like this, from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I would definitely hang out in a place like this.
posted by Fizz at 12:28 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I understand phobias: I have a big-insect phobia myself, so I have considerable empathy for ophidiophobes. If I have any complaint, it's that some phobias are more socially acceptable, and more likely to be treated as normal, than others. It's a lot easier for people to insist on a snake-free space than it is for an entomophobe to opt out of a trip to the butterfly gardens. This is precisely why I like hearing about things like this snake café, by the way: it normalizes snake encounters (many people afraid of snakes have never met one) and gives people an opportunity to deal with their fear, should they choose to.

Don Pepino: What gives me the allover creeps is the yen to create ever more "morphs."

Meh. They're mostly not to my taste (though I do admit to owning an albino garter snake and a leucistic rat snake), but I don't get too worked up about it. For the most part breeders are messing about with simple recessive genes, which strikes me as a lot more benign than some of the excesses going on in dog breeding. Also, it encourages captive breeding. (And re your photo link: indigo snakes, while magnificent and IMHO the best snakes ever, are all but unobtainable due to their endangered status.)
posted by mcwetboy at 12:34 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always laugh along with the "rational" people who aren't afraid of snakes and spiders, but when I even see a spider in a room, that room is dead to me for days after it disappears. I don't care that there's only one breed of spider in Oklahoma that could come close to killing me. If it has eight legs and isn't an octopus, I'm out.
posted by brecc at 12:37 PM on August 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


"...all but unobtainable due to their endangered status"--yeah, and they shouldn't be obtained. They should just be, the end. People shouldn't even be able to look at them. Especially those ones that start out gold on the top end and gradually change to black on the tail end and are so amazing it's impossible to even believe they exist. people should fall over and die just from a single glimpse of one of those things. Obviously I have not yet become God. When I do... look out! Things are going to change around here.

(Seriously they are definitely the best snakes ever. Also coral snakes are great. Also... well. All right, at this point I'm just going to start listing a bunch of pretty snakes.)
posted by Don Pepino at 12:44 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's not quite what I had in mind, Fizz, but it does remind me that it's been about 10 years since I've seen Nausicaa.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:47 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also if there was a café where I could watch rays swimming, like at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I'd go there, too. They would be well-treated and happy rays, in case anyone's worried.

I have café ideas!
posted by Wolfdog at 12:51 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Many people are wired with a phobia of snakes(/spiders/rodents/heights/etc). It's irrational (well, except when it isn't), we know it's irrational, but it's ingrained and powerful. You can't 'fix' it just by aggressively saying how much people with those phobias are idiots.

I'm well aware of this and the fact that my own reaction to them is irrational as well. It's like how you're natural reaction to someone freaking out is often to tell them to calm down, which usually makes things worse, but you say it anyway.
posted by ChuckRamone at 1:01 PM on August 11, 2015


Getting noodles with a noodle. Sign me the fuck up.
posted by kafziel at 2:29 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love snakes but I can't help but wonder whether they're just setting themselves up for some kind of Jurassic Park-style disaster.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:40 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't get why y'all phobes click on snake/spider links either, but man I'll take a thousand "nopes" over one execrable "kill it with fire" so kudos to this thread I guess
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:17 PM on August 11, 2015


If it has eight legs and isn't an octopus, I'm out.

what if it is sleipnir, the majestic steed of odin allfather, the greatest of horses, and the offspring of loki and svaðilfari
posted by poffin boffin at 6:08 PM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Artw: "Are you saying me need some kind of... Honeybadger Cafe"

Need? I don't know about need. I don't care. You could say I don't gi... <is crushed under 16 ton weight>.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:34 AM on August 12, 2015


what if it is sleipnir, the majestic steed of odin allfather, the greatest of horses, and the offspring of loki and svaðilfari

Then I am DEFINITELY out. I guess the other option would be Ariel, which is also a "leave now" situation.
posted by brecc at 3:33 PM on August 13, 2015


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