Dangers on Kume Island
No place is completely safe. Kume Island is a sub-tropical island with a long history, interesting culture, and a few things to watch out for. Please be aware that this page is intended promote awareness of common dangers, but is not inclusive of all dangers. Proceed at your own risk and refer to professional resources for guidance.
Kumejima has a few species of animals that are dangerous to humans. If you think you have come in contact with a poisonous animal please dial 119, the Japanese emergency number to get assistance.
- Kumejima Habu – The Kumejima Habu (Protobothrops flavoviridis)
is a type of pit viper common throughout the Okinawan Islands. It’s often a yellowish color and is found most often in warmer weather, especially at dusk and dawn and throughout the evening hours. It is most often seen in rural areas though it can be found in streets and near the ocean as well. Avoid contact and seek emergency medical help if you are bitten. Please be aware that other types of snakes on Kumejima are not poisonous, and the Kikuzato’s Book Snake is a protected species that lives in the mountain rivers.
This green snake is a non-poisounous snake seen in the hills around Bird’s Mouth Rock
- Centipede – Large red centipedes may be found in some places on Kumejima. Bites can become painful and swollen. If you are bitten, seek emergency medical care.
- Scorpion Fish , Long Spined Sea Urchin, Crown of Thorns Starfish, Stonefish, Striped Catfish – These can be found in waters around Okinawa. First Aid- Soak in hot water (as hot as tolerable) for thirty minutes to one hour.**
- Box Jelly Fish – May be found in Okinawa. First Aid – Do not rub affected area. Apply vinegar (not fresh water) and remove tentacles. Then cool with ice or cold water.**
- Sea Anemone – First Aid – Do not rub skin. Douse with seawater or fresh water and apply a cold pack. Do not use vinegar.**
- Seasnake, Coneshell – First Aid – Suck out the venom without cutting. Go to hospital immediately.**
- Blue-ringed Octopus – First Aid – Squeeze out venom but do not suck it out as it will be hazardous if swallowed. Go to the hospital immediately.**
For more information checkout this convenient English language leaflet on the prefectural website with animal and bite pictures.
Earthquakes are a part of life in Japan. In the five years I’ve lived in Okinawa Prefecture, I have felt 3 small tremors. Though the ones I have felt were very small and there are fewer than other places in Japan, there is still a possibility of large earthquake. Please be prepared at all times and consider reading the US Embassy’s information on disaster preparedness.
Information on current earthquakes can be found on the Japanese Meteorological website in English.
The March 2011 Tsunami raised awareness of the danger of high waves throughout the world. Kumejima has an evacuation system with points around the Island in the event of a major tsunami. There are also occasional practice drills and signs around the island showing your current elevation above sea level. Please check the Japanese Meteorological Agency’s Website for the latest information and suggestions. On Kumejima you will hear an alarm and the words “kunren kunren” before/during a drill.
If you hear or see a warning, follow others away from water and towards the highest places you can get to. If you are on the beach, and the tide suddenly goes out, move away from it as quickly as possible as the water may receed drastically before a major tsunami.
Typhoon or hurricanes are common in the Okinawa Islands from July through November, with one or two major storms over Kumejima each year. These Hurricanes can have strong winds that cause electricity to go out and other hardships. With today’s technology, there is usually several days of warning as storms are tracked, though they can happen suddenly as well. Most buildings on Kumejima are constructed with typhoons in mind. You will find concrete and typhoon glass in many buildings. Avoid going outside during storms and avoid the ocean. Prepare for disasters as suggested on your local embassy’s website.
Most Typhoons are over within a day, though the damage from fallen trees, etc. may require more time to recover from. Stay away from windows as strong winds might brake them, or cause objects to fall into them. Prepare fresh water for drinking incase the water supply is temporarily shut off. You should also consider preparing candles and or flashlights with extra batteries.
As with all of the above, if you are staying in a hotel, familiarize yourself with the emergency plans they have on file. If you are unsure of what to do in an emergency, please ask someone.
**All First-Aid advice listed here is from the above poster published by the Okinawa Prefectural Government. Contact a medical professional and seek their advice. This site, owner, author, etc. accept no responsibility or liability for any actions based on this or any page.