So they took a female dwarf hamster, dropped her into Aochan's cage and waited for nature to take its course. But instead of the usual panicked squeak-gulp-burp course of events, the hamster was totally cool with the yard-long hamster-eating snake whose home it had been dropped into. It padded straight to Aochan, who watched with interest. Then it climbed onto his back, curled happily into a ball and went to sleep.
Then pulled the blanket over his head and gave him a Dutch Oven.
Did Aochan fly into a mindless rage, seeing his pride as a rat snake being torn to shreds by this overtly friendly furball? Nope, he was totally OK with it, and they have been best friends ever since.
We feel it's worth noting that Aochan wasn't just a random snake that likes to eat rodents. During this first meeting, he was a starving snake that hadn't eaten for weeks. The situation was, from a biological standpoint, not unlike offering a five-course meal to a starving man, only to watch him turn it down because he wanted to hang out with the potatoes. There wasn't anything biologically wrong with Aochan either -- when it became apparent that he wasn't going to eat the hamster, the zoo staff gingerly tried again with frozen mice, and he gulped them down no problem.
He was literally starving, sure. But more importantly, he was starved for friendship.