Boa Constrictors Don't Suffocate Their Prey

Boa Constrictors Don't Suffocate Their Prey

It's long been assumed that boa constrictors kill their prey by suffocating it. But after monitoring the blood flow of rats that were being constricted by snakes, researchers at Dickinson College found that the rodents probably perished due to circulatory arrest. As a snake squeezes, it causes the pressure inside the rat's veins and arteries to skyrocket until the heart can't beat against the added force. The animals pass out quickly, then die.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    For a long time, people thought that constrictors killed their prey through suffocation. (0:39)

  • 2

    By placing monitors on anesthetized rats, scientists were able to track the rats' blood flow when they were constricted by snakes. (1:26)

  • 3

    Research indicates that constrictors cause circulatory arrest in their prey. (1:52)

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