When searching for things to bring to the Salamander Tea Party, I stumbled across this gorgeous ohako tea box with a Japanese giant salamander inside. The Japanese really respect and love their giant salamanders. I have a habit of asking every Japanese person I meet if they know much about the Japanese giant salamander. I remember this one young man I met at a cryobiology conference, and when I asked him this, he got very excited, then paused and responded, “No.” He then took out his phone and showed me a picture of one he had seen in the wild. So while he knew little about the animals, he was still super excited about them. I love that attitude, which is pretty much what I get from most of the Japanese people I have asked about the giant salamander. This kind of attitude is great because all 3 species of giant salamanders (Chinese, Japanese, and the American hellbender) are endangered species. Here in the USA, we have a lot of love for the hellbender (as far as salamanders go, the hellbender is a rock star) but the Chinese giants are another story…. I will feature them as a species of the month some time, but the short story is, they are almost extinct in the wild and they are bred for consumption in captivity. They aren’t really viewed as a conservation concern, more of a production animal concern.
Anyway, I digress. Here is the beautiful ohako tea box!
It looks SO real.
So detailed, right down to the little feet.