Back in school we learnt about the predator-prey system, the brutal but entirely natural way in which Mother Nature keeps things in balance. It’s a cruel world out there in the wild, but that’s just how it is.

But things don’t always go as planned, even for great Mother Nature. There are exceptions every once in a while, like this pair of miracle buddies, Gohan-chan the hamster and Ao-chan the snake, who seem to get along just fine.

The unusual but nonetheless cute predator-prey friendship was built in Ao-chan’s cozy enclosure at the Tokyo Mutsugoro Animal Kingdom sometime in late autumn, 2005. The little snake, who had always been given frozen mice as a staple, seemed to have suddenly lost his appetite, refusing to eat. Its caretakers thought that perhaps giving it a source of fresh food would invigorate its appetite. The pet store nearby had coincidentally run out of mice, so they bought Ao-chan a hamster for lunch instead.

They gave the furry rodent to Ao-chan, but the snake showed no sign of interest in devouring it. Instead, the hamster started to get comfortable with its slithering companion, and the pair soon became one of the main attractions at the Animal Kingdom, with staff bestowing the name “Gohan” (literally meaning rice, or meal) on the hamster, for obvious reasons.






Unfortunately, this story was not blessed with a “happily ever after” ending. The Tokyo Mutsugoro Animal Kingdom gained a fair bit of media exposure as a result of the unusual pair, but it wasn’t long before they received backlash from the public, with some suggesting that they deliberately fabricated the story for commercial purposes.

Skeptics argue that it is common knowledge that snakes cut down on activity and don’t eat living animals when the weather gets cold as they start preparing to hibernate through the winter, and so the hamster merely had a very lucky escape rather than having made a new pal. Bowing to the pressure, Gohan-chan was finally removed from the snake’s enclosure and kept in a cage of his own.

The establishment reportedly went bankrupt in November 2006, and subsequently closed down a year later. We’re not sure where the unlikely duo are today, but we like to imagine that they busted out of the mini zoo before it closed down and are now making a living going from town to town selling hand-made clothes pegs and busking for change.

Source: ETToday
Reference: Hamusuta no Urabanashi, Wikipedia
Images: Crinkly Ears, Blogspot