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A brown snake forced a bullet train to make an emergency stop

The snake was quickly captured and was not poisonous

CNN  — 

An unlikely stowaway on a Japanese bullet train (shinkansen) forced the country’s usually uber-punctual rail service to make an emergency stop Monday.

A female passenger glimpsed a brown snake wrapped around an armrest through the gap in the seats in front of her.

“We don’t know how the snake got on the train, or if it was a wild or a pet snake,” Haruhiko Tomikubo, a spokesperson for Japan Rail Central, told CNN.

A snake lays in a container after it was caught in bullet train, in Hamamatsu, central Japan.

“This isn’t a normal occurrence either as you can’t have pet snakes on trains.”

The bullet train had left Tokyo for Hiroshima when the female passenger saw the snake. She immediately alerted the bullet train’s conductor, who made an emergency stop at Hamamatsu city.

‘Caught within a minute’

The police were on hand to capture the snake, which was around 1 foot (30 centimeters) long and believed to be non poisonous.

“We think that the operation went smoothly,” Tomikubo, told CNN. “The snake was caught within a minute, and the bullet train arrived [in Hiroshima] without any delays.”

While pet snakes are not allowed on board Japanese bullet trains, cats and dogs are. Owners must pay an extra charge and make sure they are kept in special pet boxes or cages so they don’t disturb other travelers.

This isn’t the first time that a snake has been found on bullet train, with a 3-foot-long (1 meter) Honduran milk snake discovered in 2011.

“Five years ago, a snake was found on a seat, but it was caught back then too,” said Tomikubo.

“That time it was a pet.”

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