Wed Jan 18, 3:58 PM ET
TOKYO - Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows: one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a four-foot rat snake. Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster — whose name means "meal" in Japanese — to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.
But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make friends with the furry rodent, according to keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a cage since.
"I've never seen anything like it. Gohan sometimes even climbs onto Aochan to take a nap on his back," Yamamoto said.
Aochan, a 2-year-old male Japanese rat snake, eventually developed an appetite for frozen rodents but has so far shown no signs of gobbling up Gohan — despite her name.
"We named her Gohan as a joke," Yamamoto chuckled. "But I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much."
Yes, yes, isn't it cute when animals fail to eat one another like they should. No doubt the hippies out there are all going 'awwww' and waxing poetic about how we should all learn from the animals about getting along while smoking a fat doobie. Stupid hippies.
What they don't realize is this case has notta to do with friendship across species or the metaphysical power of love. It's survival, pure and simple. Lets go to the picture archive.
As you can see, the snake would have to be crazy to try to gobble up this hamster. Look at the size difference. Unless the rat snake all of a sudden evolved poison sacs, it'd be stupid to try to consume it. As the old mantra goes, never try to eat anything larger than your head. Even the death throes could cause extreme amounts of damage, not to mention what could happen even if it managed to start consuming it. Need I remind you of the fate of that luckless python who took on the alligator.