Saturday, August 15, 2015

Inside Tokyo's snake cafe where you can sip a coffee with a slithery reptile at your feet

You've heard of cat and dog cafes - but this one's for the ophiophilists (that's snake lovers)


If the idea of a cat cafe is a bit too cutesy for you, this might be your perfect pitstop.
A cafe has opened in Tokyo that offers customers the chance to get up close and personal with snakes.

Aptly named the Tokyo Snake Center, the cafe houses 35 non-venomous snakes, which are known as 'attendants'.

Customers can enjoy a range of coffees and also pick their fave snake to play with.
The snakes are kept inside glass boxes but staff allow customers to get them out once during each session for a cuddle.

          Tokyo: A snake is placed on the table next to a drink
          
The cafe, while not for the faint of heart, has pulled in a lot of teenagers since it opened on Saturday - probably due to its location in Harajuku, the fashion district of Tokyo.

"The way it feels and the way it moves is nice. It's all wobbly," said 16-year-old high school student Hikaru Hara as a light-coloured corn snake wrapped itself around her.

Many of the snake staff are breeds of corn snakes - a North American species of rat snakes popular with people who make pets out of snakes.

       Selection: Customers can choose which snake they would like to hang out with

The corn snake is docile and has been bred to come in various colours with such names as Fluorescent Orange, Blood Red and Sunkissed.

And for the ophiophilist, or snake-lover, the cafe also sells snake-themed goods, including fake snake-skin ties, and molted snake-skin charms.

                 Unusual: The snake cafe is the latest in quirky restaurant concepts

The cafe's owners say they want to help people understand that snakes, while they often have a bad reputation, are also worth saving.


"I was initially interested in environment conservation, and in that context, I wanted to show people the good parts about animals, so I started this cafe," said manager Hisamitsu Kaneko.

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