Snake Dies as It Cuts Power for 10,000 Homes in Japan

A snake was fried after it slithered into an electric substation in Japan last week—and then 10,000 people felt pretty hot as well as air conditioners were wiped out across the city due to the resulting power outage.

The blackout hit Koriyama City, in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, on June 29 as the region sweltered during the hottest part of the day at 2:10 p.m.

Investigators from the Tohoku Electric Power company traced the cause of the mystery outage to a substation within the city, and found the charred remains of a snake inside some machinery. Details about what type of snake it was have not been released, but the creature was still burning after it had come into contact with a live wire.

The resulting smoke triggered alarms, with six fire trucks racing to the scene, while the short circuit triggered an immediate and automatic shutdown of the facility for safety reasons. It took around an hour for the power to be restored to 10,000 homes and businesses.

A Golden Lancehead snake
It's unclear what kind of snake blew a Japanese city's power after hitting a wire inside a substation. Pictured: A highly venomous Golden Lancehead snake in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Getty Images

Residents complained about the heat on social media, while some local businesses said they were forced to close, including a barber who said his premises had become too hot to safely work in and accept customers.

Temperatures have been in the 80s in Koriyama City recently, according to meteorologists at World Weather Online. On Monday, residents saw a high of over 89 F.

News about the snake sparked much interest across social media, with some expressing shock at how easily a simple snake had managed to disable the city's power facilities.

When questioned, Yukari Tanji, of Tohoku Electric Power, told Newsweek: "The incident was caused by a snake entering the substation premises and coming into contact with electrical equipment, resulting in a short circuit and causing a power outage. For security reasons, we are unable to provide further details."

But English-language news website Japan Today quoted a resident as saying: "It's surprisingly easy to shut down important infrastructure that's indispensable to our lives." While another added: "If it was hit by lightning or something I would understand, but a snake? They should be better protected."

Others were more concerned about the reptile. One wrote: "Poor snake! The company should apologize and compensate its family." And another added: "Poor snake. I was born in the year of the snake, so this hits hard."

And bilingual wits were keen to make puns since the Japanese word for snake is "hebi" which sounds like the English word for "heavy" One social media user reminded followers that the government had always warned residents against "hebi usage" of energy to prevent power outages.

The news comes just a month after an enormous Burmese python was captured in the Florida Everglades—the largest ever found. Measuring nearly 18 feet in length and weighing in at 215 pounds, the snake was discovered to be carrying 122 eggs.

And snakes have been in the headlines across the rest of the world recently too, including nail-biting footage of a man's attempt to capture one of the world's deadliest serpents—the Eastern Brown snake—from a crawl space beneath a home in Queensland, Australia.

While in June, a boy in India was found alive after spending over 100 hours trapped at the bottom of a 60-foot well with a snake in central India.