Scientists have figured out how boas avoid suffocation when squeezing prey

(ORDO NEWS) — Many are surprised by the way boas hunt and kill prey. The boa constrictor kills the victim, squeezing it with the rings of its powerful body. But how does he not suffocate himself? Scientists have found the answer.

In a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology , scientists have found that boas are able to quickly regulate which part of their chest they use for breathing. This explains to some extent how these snakes continue to get access to oxygen while squeezing the prey.

How was the research?

The scientists simply placed a blood pressure cuff on the boa constrictor’s ribs to simulate compression of the ribs.

This approach showed that rib movements changed in response to cuff pressures. The way the boa constrictor breathed was literally rearranged.

This means that if the front half of the body is busy squeezing the rabbit, the lower part of the lungs acts as a backup while the upper ribs are busy.

According to the researchers, the lungs of the boa constrictor are extremely long – they extend to a third of their length and can even occupy up to 80 percent of the snake’s body, depending on the species.

Another surprising discovery was that the movement of the ribs of the boas was very similar to the movement of the ribs of monitor lizards. Although the two species are considered related, molecular evidence currently suggests that monitor lizards are most closely related to iguanas.

Now the scientists want to find out how boas and other snakes move their ribs during various dynamic activities such as gliding.


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