Snake befriends its hamster lunch in zoo

Snakes usually have hamsters for lunch. But when rat snake Ao-chan and dwarf hamster Gohan-chan met at a Japanese zoo, it was love - and not at first bite. Now, the 120-centimetre snake and gray hamster are room mates, living together in a heated glass box.

Gohan-chan, whose name means "meal" in Japanese, was literally, meant to be the snake's dinner. "When we first found Ao-chan, the snake refused to eat so we went to a pet shop but was told they were out of frozen mice and suggested we try a hamster. However the moment we put it in the cage, it was instantaneous friendship and the snake seemed to have no appetite for it," said zoo keeper Kazuya Yamamoto.

But the love is obviously is shared only by the snake and the hamster. Hanna-chan, a mouse-hunting cat, has been eyeing Gohan-chan ever since Ao-chan decided to befriend it.