The Tsuchinoko (ツチノコo槌の子, literally translated as "Earth Spawner") is a yōkai in Japanese culture. The name Tsuchinoko is often used in western Japan; in the northeast the creature is known as Bachi hebi (バチヘビ, literally Honey Snake).
According to legend, the Tsuchinoko is described as being approximately 30 and 80 centimeters long, similar in appearance to a snake, but with a central thickness much wider than its head or tail.
It has venomous fangs similar to those of a viper. Some stories claim that the mythological animal is capable of jumping up to one meter away and that it emits an unpleasant sound.
It is popularly said that some Tsuchinoko have the ability to speak and a propensity to lie. It has also been even written that it has a taste for alcohol. It sometimes swallows its own tail so that it can roll like a hoop. In general and according to tradition, the Tsuchinoko is referred to as a peaceful and solitary creature.
Japanese travel agencies often organize Tsuchinoko hunts in rural areas to attract visitors, promising large sums of money to anyone lucky enough to catch one.
Tsuchinoko in Popular culture
- In the anime Katekyō Hitman Reborn! a Tsuchinoko appears in some weapon boxes.
- In the anime and Pokémon video game series, the appearance of Pokémon number 206, Dunsparce, is based on descriptions of the Tsuchinoko.
- In the Metal Gear Solid 3 video game, the Tsuchinoko snake appears as one of the 48 life forms that can be seen and/or captured in the multiple landscapes through which you progress with Naked Snake. This is the most difficult species to locate and on PlayStation Network its capture is closely linked to the "Believe It or Not" and "King of the Jungle" trophies. If you manage to capture and keep the Tsuchinoko among the luggage until the end of the game, in the next game that the user starts, he will have a face painting that will give him infinite ammunition with all the weapons he uses.
- In the video game Forbidden Siren (PlayStation 2) a "reward poster" can be found where a million yen is offered to anyone who can find a Tsuchinoko alive. It is described as "between 30 - 80 cm", color changing "from spotted black to dark brown and gray", "yellow stomach and spotted back", "beer-bottle shaped body and triangular head". Their habits and abilities are discussed as specified in this Wikipedia entry.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise there are several Monster Cards based on a Tsuchinoko, such as "Danger? Tsuchinoko?", "Tsuchinoko of Earthly Teeth" (whose original name is simply "Tsuchinoko"). Meanwhile, "The Fabulous Nozoochee", whose original name is "Demon Roar God Nozuchi", alludes to the nozuchi, yōkai to which tsuchinoko is often assimilated.
- In the Doraemon anime, Nobita encountered a Tsuchinoko.
- In the anime Konijiki no Gash Bell they try to hunt one in one episode.
- In the anime Blood Lad a roasted Tsuchinoko appears.
- In the anime Mob Psycho 100 (episode 12), Mob and Reigen try to hunt a Tsuchinoko. As a curiosity, Reigen ends up saying that those things don't exist, and in the end they pass on one.
- In the anime Namiuchigiwa no Muromi San, a friend of Muromi's is a Tsuchinoko.
- In the Touhou Project series, Marisa Kirisame took a Tsuchinoko as a pet in Strange and Bright Nature Deity chapter 10. She thinks it's too cute to exterminate, and doesn't see why a human can't keep youkai as pets.
- In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, a Tsuchinoko appears in the ballroom, right after defeating the boss of the area. With her soul equipped, Soma can buy all items in the store at half price.
- In the visual novel Rewrite, the Occult Club searches for a Tsuchinoko on school grounds.
- In the Yo-Kai Watch video game, the Yo-Kai Noko, Florinoko and Pandanoko are inspired by Tsuchinokos.
- One of the collectibles in the video game Yomawari: Night Alone is a Tsuchinoko found in the bushes, which the protagonist adopts as a pet.
- In the anime Kemono Friends, a character named Tsuchinoko appears.
- In the anime 2x2 Shinobuden it is said that they have found one, but it is not shown.
- In the anime Space Dandy (chapter 12), QT catches a black Tsuchinoko, which ends up being a transformed Chameleonino.
- In the anime Saiki Kusuo No Ψ-Nan 2nd Season - 04.
- In the anime Jashin-chan Dropkick, Jashin-chan searches, in a Gacha Machine of cryptozoological creature figures, for a figure of a tsuchinoko. A real one passes by her, but she prefers the figure, and the real tsuchinoko walks away sadly.