Snakes on a plate: Japan's first reptile cafe

Snakes on a plate: Japan's first reptile cafe

New shop puts more bite into Tokyo's crowded "animal cafe" market

Reptiles cafeLook, I expressly asked for triple-chip frappuccino, not a merciless killing machine.

Coffee beans? Check. Earl Grey? Check. Lace tablecloths? Check. Ginormous snake for draping around customers' necks? Check.

At least, we surmise that’s something like the morning start-up routine for staff at Reptiles Café near Tokyo, where visitors come nose to forked tongue with an unhealthy amount of scaly wildlife.

Herpetological heaven

The newly opened store is in Yokohama, Tokyo’s biggest neighbor, and is the first of its ilk to join a fairly crowded “animal café” market that usually relies on fluffier critters, such as cats, dogs and wittle bunny wabbits.

Among the residents of Reptiles Café -- Yokohama Subtropical Teahouse, to use its full name, are a variety of snakes, tortoises, geckos, newts (slipping up, guys, they’re amphibians) and a bearded dragon.

Keep it clean

Not all the animals are available for petting, but the less prickly members of the lineup, like the range of tortoises or land turtles, are fair game for a fondle. Just remember to wash your hands after, say the café’s operators.

On the food front, we’re slightly disappointed that Reptiles Café really is an ordinary café -- no bush tucker on the menu, alas -- but the atmosphere is sure to be a little more stimulating than any of the thousand-plus Seattle-esque coffee mausoleums that blanket the area.