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Old 01-19-06, 01:01 PM   #1
squidget
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Hamster & snake BFF @ Tokyo Zoo

...or at least until the snake gets really hungry. Link
OKYO - 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 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."

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," Yamamoto said.
2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Last edited by squidget; 01-19-06 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidget
The Tokyo zoo also keeps a range of mostly livestock animals, and promotes "cross-breed interaction"
Sure, a Japanese zoo can do this and no one minds, but when I try it in my backyard, the neighbors call the cops.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidget
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 mice.
WTF? Frozen mice?

I would think ALL snakes would refuse to eat frozen mice.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekOnce
WTF? Frozen mice?

I would think ALL snakes would refuse to eat frozen mice.
This is the way most zoos feed, it is MUCH safer on the carnivore, and the keepers know the food will not escape.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squidget
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.
That's fantastic, especially given how big the hamster is in comparison (thanks for the pic)! Can a rat that size even eat a hamster that size?
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Old 01-19-06, 04:29 PM   #6
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the articles notes that the snake is 3 feet long. And if remember my national geographic correctly, a snake unhinges its jaw to eat and can easily fit a 3.5 inch hamster in. With any other rat snake that hamster would be, well snake food.
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Old 01-19-06, 06:31 PM   #7
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That Hamtaro...

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Old 01-19-06, 06:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cusm
This is the way most zoos feed, it is MUCH safer on the carnivore, and the keepers know the food will not escape.
That's..odd. It seems so counterintuitive to me. I didn't think they could sense anything frozen as food.
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Old 01-19-06, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekOnce
I didn't think they could sense anything frozen as food.
I sure can

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Old 01-19-06, 11:04 PM   #10
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While gohan can mean rice, the word's more common usage in Japanese translates to just plain meal (any kind). Nice one.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:46 AM   #11
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Frozen rodents are common in the Reptile trade. Snakes, like any other animal, have their own tastes and quirks. Some will take them, some won't. OBVIOUSLY you thaw them out thouroughly before feeding them to the snake. Frozen rodents allow you to keep a large supply on hand without having to feed and house live animals. But I've also heard some horror stories where freezers were unplugged and the rodents spoiled.

Also, there -may- be some evidence that freezing the rodent is good for the snake because freezing ruptures cell membranes thus allowing more nutrients to be absorbed.

I had to throw out a rat the other day because my snake wouldn't eat it.
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Old 01-20-06, 07:12 AM   #12
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Mass hysteria!
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