Study: Boas don't actually suffocate their prey

Study: Boas don't actually suffocate their prey
Credit: Scott Boback

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For years, it's been thought that Boa Constrictors suffocate their prey. Now, a new study suggests they are actually just squeezing them to death.

It was previously thought that every time prey would exhale, the boa would tighten its grip a little more each time until the prey could no longer breathe.

A study just released in Journal of Experimental Biology by Dr. Scott Boback now suggests that the prey are just being killed by squeezing.

When fitting lab rodents with blood pressure catheters and ECG electrodes, scientists could see what was actually happening while in the grips of boas.

It was determined that the rodents were dying too fast to actually be suffocation.

Within 30 seconds of the snakes pressure being applied, the rodents arterial pressure was plummeting.

Also when the rodent was being constricted, the potassium level spiked.

As soon as the blood flow stopped the victim passes out instantly and the snake would then feast, sometimes while the victim was actually still living.

This is just one study's finding, and scientists still need to experiment this more to know for certain if this is how boas kill their prey.

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