Boa Constrictors kill their Prey by Obstructing and Cutting off Victim’s Blood Flow

A new study would like to differ to existing thoughts on how boa constrictors kill their prey. They are known to kill their prey through their deadly grips. The new study has found that boa kills its prey by hindering and cutting off its victim’s blood flow.

Study’s lead researcher Scott Boback from Dickinson College has termed it to be an important behavior vital in snake evolution. He said the constriction is so efficient that it does not leave any scope from prey’s side to fight back.

In the study, the researchers tested how anesthetized rats responded to boas’ constriction. Firstly, the researchers implanted electrocardiogram electrodes so that they can know the rats’ heart rates and they also inserted blood pressure catheters into a major artery and vein. They did this, so the researchers can see both sides of the circulatory system.

Rats were given anesthetics and fed them to boa snakes, so that the researchers can see how boa constrictors responded to constrictions. As per the data collected, it was found that rats’ blood circulation was stopped within few seconds after the attack.

The researchers noticed that rats’ arterial pressure dropped meaning that oxygenated blood was not being pumped through their bodies. “We believe that’s a valuable piece of information, something that’s interesting to know just in general how snakes function but also specifically to understand how those snakes evolved, how they came about, why they became so successful”, said Boback.