How do snakes Kill

Snakes are able to kill their prey in three ways. Some snakes are constrictors, some are venous, and some are neither.

A constrictor wraps around its prey and slowly squeezes until it is dead. You would think that they are just squeezing the animal to death, but it is a bit more involved than that. Take a boa constrictor for example. Researchers have found that when boa constrictors kill they squeeze with enough force to interfere with an animal's blood pressure, blood gas levels, ion balance in the blood, and heart functions. Constrictors actually cause death in the prey by stopping the flow of blood to their heart. For years It has been assumed that creatures where either asphyxiated, or crushed to death by constrictors. Stopping the blood flow is a quicker and more efficient death. After killing its prey, the constrictor consumes it like all other snakes- swallowing it whole. Inducing circulatory arrest has its advantages for the snake as well. Because it is faster and more efficient that suffocation, killing in this manner can help the snake, avoid serious harm from an animal’s teeth and claws. Because the, snake is taking out its prey quickly it is reducing the amount of time and energy that the snake has to devote to killing and ingesting its meal. This means more time for finding a mate, breeding, and hunting more food.

Venomous (or poisonous) snakes have a different method. These snakes use venom or poisonous saliva to subdue their prey. The snake uses its hollow fangs to penetrate the skin of the prey and injects venom into the wound. This causes a deadly reaction in its prey’s body which leading to immobilization and death. Different snakes have different venoms. There are three main types they are:

Neurotoxic venom –this attacks the brain and nervous system.

Cytotoxic venom- causes necrosis an atrophying at specific sites or muscle groups.

Hemotoxic venom- is a direct attack on the cardiovascular system No matter the type, they are all effective in subduing prey so the snake can enjoy its meal.

The third and final way snakes kills its prey is to consume it alive. Snakes that are neither poisonous nor have the power to constrict, like garter snakes, t simply eat their prey alive and count on gastric acids to do the trick. These snakes typically try to eat the prey headfirst to avoid too much of a fight. As you can image this can present a challenge, the foremost being the fact that its prey could mount a daring escape before the snake manages to swallow it.

Read the How to get rid of snakes page for helpful information and to learn more about How do snakes Kill

How do snakes Kill

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