Animal Photos Index
47. Hamster, snake best friends at Tokyo zoo
'I've never seen anything like it,' zookeeper says of unlikely pairing
Jan. 18, 2006
download the flv file
TOKYO - Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows:
one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a
yard-long rat snake.
Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo
presented the hamster - whose name is a tasty
rice dish in Japanese - to Aochan as a snack in
October, after the snake refused to eat frozen
But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make
friends with the furry rodent, according to
keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a
"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."
The Tokyo zoo also keeps a range of mostly
livestock animals, and promotes "cross-breed interaction," according to Yamamoto.
But Gohan and Aochan's case was "was a complete accident."