We were wrong about how boa constrictors kill their prey

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Dunno. The boa I had as a kid would take quite a long time before deciding his mouse was dead and ready to eat, at least 5 min, maybe longer. Clearly he could tell it’s status, and spectators could see the mouse did not pass out in a few seconds. And I would assume a rodent with a much faster metabolism than a human would be able to survive with no respiration a far shorter time. Yeah, I know, live feeding is frowned on today.

One of my saddest childhood memories is finding a dead boa constrictor, obviously someone’s pet that had escaped, in a drainage ditch. It had a huge bulge in its, um, neck, or whatever is below that. This was summer so I doubt exposure killed it and there were no other signs of trauma. Regardless of how they kill is it possible for a boa to swallow more than it can handle?

Thinking of earthquake, landslide, avalanche victims… and wondering if the same idea applies.

In jiu jitsu or judo we call this the difference between a blood choke and an air choke (or asphyxia choke).

I guess it’s slightly different. A blood choke simply prevents blood from reaching the brain, whereas this sounds like blocking off vascular points throughout the body and preventing the heart from pumping.

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If a snake gets a stuffy nose, it can die of suffocation while eating, or starvation while avoiding said suffocation.

Yes, it’s quite possible.

I don’t know what anyone else was taught as a kid, but I was under the impressssion that their real power liesss in hipnossisssss.


If the prey is still alive, certainly.

I don’t know about boas specifically, but anacondas have been found dead from trying to swallow caimans, deer and even human prey that was so large it ruptured its alimentary canal (stomach, esophagus, whatever).


Damn right. Those things are downright alien. Both of them!

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I don’t really have a problem with snakes. Quite the opposite, really… But the centipede doing the whole alien chest-burster thing skeeves me out. I’m skeeved out by large centipedes as it is though. Bugs shouldn’t get to the size of a large TV remote…


Thank fuck the Arthropleura died out then.



*visibly shudders*

It’s good some things are no longer extant. Roving packs of Compsognathus, and that… monster, for instance.

I think you’ve found the perfect image for the word “squick”

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