It’s incredible to see a Boa Constrictors catch and eat its victim. The snake uses its jaws to strike and grasp onto the victim, then coils its body tightly around the unlucky thing and slowly squeezes the life out of it. Blood flow to the heart and brain is cut off by the constrictor. The boa’s jaw is then unhinged, and the prey is swallowed whole. The boa moves its prey down the length of its body to the stomach, where it is digested over the next four to six days.
Boa Constrictors eat a variety of medium-sized rodents, lizards, and birds, among other things. Even larger prey, such as monkeys, wild pigs, and ocelots, have been observed to eat them. How can the snakes manage to breathe while crushing an animal to death, regardless of what’s on the menu, when the constriction also squeezes the boas’ own ribs? Boa Constrictors, unlike mammals (including humans), do not have a distinct diaphragm. To breathe, they rely solely on the action of their ribcage.
In order to collect vital data on airflow, muscle activation, and rib motion in vivo, the team used a mix of approaches. Except for one, all of the snakes used in the studies were produced in captivity from wild Boa Constrictors acquired in Belize. According to the authors, the single outlier was obtained from a reputable reptile breeder.
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