By Method of Asphyxiation

The African rock python is a large and powerful constrictor. Photo credit: african-safari-pictures.com

The African rock python is a large and powerful constrictor. Photo credit: african-safari-pictures.com

It runs at its hyperactive pace, passing by the foliage and rocks as hunger strikes at its mind. It must find food or its small body would soon give in to the lack of nutrition. Its heart beats at a rapid pace and its senses become focused to its surroundings. In a world this big, food is not far away. It continues on in search of its next meal. A mouse, a small woodland creature; it birthed its first litter during the night and it is now off to search for food to help it regain energy. There is little time and returning to the litter the litter quickly is of utmost importance. As it searches throughout the foliage, the silence of its surroundings do little to warrant its worry. Another creature has been very patient. A snake, long having been the nightmare of small animals in the forest, has found its meal. It lives in a world of no sound, where the other senses come into play. It was alerted to the mouse long before the tiny mammal even arrived here. Patience having paid off, the seemingly motionless serpent readies itself. The mouse encounters some small insects, but it doesn’t sense the hidden predator. Coming closer to its end, the mouse is within striking distance of the snake. The snake’s instincts push it to strike, and in less than a second, the mouse is hit. Its body is punctured with rows of small, numerous teeth, and it is brought back to the area of the snake. Coils surround the small mouse and are quickly but carefully positioned to effectively hold the panicking animal. The coils set, and the struggle is quickly over. Breathing quickly, the mouse is subjected to greater and greater pressure. Within seconds, it finds itself unable to take in another breath. Moments later, it loses consciousness and its senses are out. Its life is over, but this is just another day of survival for the cunning constrictor.

Many constrictors feed on rats, keeping the populations of these potential pests under control. A black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta) is pictured here. blueridgewildlife.org

Constriction is a common method used by snakes to bring down their prey. Most species which rely on it are non-venomous, though there are exceptions. However, constrictors have been given an equally unfair reputation by people as their venomous cousins. Tales of giant serpents who crush the bones of their prey have become common and have brought people to a severe misunderstanding for these animals. This is not surprising, though, as snakes have often been associated evil and death since the early days of man. This is not justified, however. These tales of monstrous, bone-crushing reptiles are heavily exaggerated and false. Venom and constriction are just methods by which snakes can catch prey and defend themselves, much like how other species of animals must also defend themselves. However, these methods are just what strike fear to in people. The idea of being slowly choked to death, in particular, does not sit well with people. This much is understandable, but it does not mean that snakes themselves are out to get us. Even the process of constriction itself is misunderstood, which may be partly responsible for the almost irrational fear humans have of snakes. The topic is one that should be understood, and that is exactly the purpose of this essay; to bring the accurate details of constrictors to light.

The boa constrictor (Boa constrictor) is a fairly large and well known constrictor snake. jacksonvillezoo.org

Like the scenario shown in the first paragraph, the constrictor begins its attack by launching itself at the prey animal, gripping it with its many tiny teeth, and pulling it back to the snake in order to properly wrap its coils around the victim. Now, contrary to myth, the prey’s bones and body are not crushed by the snake. Most scientists these days would say that what actually occurs is a death by asphyxiation. That is, the snake tightens its grip right after every breath taken by the victim. This makes it more difficult for the held animal to breath air into its lungs. Eventually, the prey cannot draw in any more air, and it soon dies from lack of oxygen. After the death of the victim is known to the snake, it then positions its jaws in a comfortable place (usually at the front of the prey’s body), and the snake begins another slow process of swallowing its prey whole. It distends its jaws in order to allow the prey to fit into its mouth (many snakes eat prey items larger than their own heads) and slowly takes the meal in more and more. After this, the snake must find a place to hide itself in order to digest the meal in peace. This usually means going into hiding for anywhere from 2 days to almost a week, as snakes have a very slow metabolism. And even suffocation is not what always occurs. Sometimes, the prey animal dies rather quickly. This is said to be the result of the blood vessels in the prey’s body rupturing from the pressure subjected to it by the snake. This in particular is not an exaggeration, as constrictors are very powerful. Larger snakes like pythons and anacondas are could be easily capable of doing this, especially to smaller prey.

Constrictor snakes, such as this green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), are very powerful animals and commonly feared by people. snakespictures.net

However, these are the only two rational actions taking place. There is no incident of bones being crushed to dust. And yet, with all these discoveries, people still have a big misunderstanding of these animals. Snakes must have these methods of killing and eating because of the way their bodies are. If the snake lacks venom, the only other way it can bring down prey with its body shape is by constriction, and if the snake cannot tear its food into pieces and chew it (which none can) then it must be able to swallow it whole. Studying these animals shows their true beauty and survival abilities. Even if not all people can come to like them, by reading into essays as short as this one, they can at least come to understand snakes. These reptiles have their special place in nature. Just like all animals, they are merely doing what they can to survive. Their Creator provided them with what they have, and they have every right to use what they have been given.

You Might Also Like

40 Comments

  1. 1
  2. 2

    hey there, this might be little offtopic, but i am hosting my site on hostgator and they will suspend my hosting in 4days, so i would like to ask you which hosting do you use or recommend?

  3. 4
  4. 5
  5. 6

    Have you actually considered adding a whole lot more videos to your weblog posts to retain the readers further entertained? I mean I just study via the entire write-up of yours and it was very good but because I’m far more of the visual learner,I found that to be a whole lot more beneficial perfectly let me know how it turns out! I really like what you men are constantly up as well. This kind of clever function and reporting! Maintain up the perfect functions guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a outstanding write-up thanks for sharing this educational data.. I will check out your weblog frequently for some most recent post.

  6. 8
  7. 9

    I seriously enjoyed the write-up. It proved to become pretty helpful to me and I am certain to all of the commenters right here! It’s generally great whenever you can not just be informed, but also entertained! I am sure you had fun writing this article.

  8. 10
  9. 11

    I am new to this forum, I am now in Tokyo. I am preparing to go to a first-stage interview this coming Monday for a packing manufacturing job. This will be my first and I hope not last interview upon graduation. Please wish me all the best.

  10. 12

    Dear administrator… My name is Patrick Tang and I am a high school teacher staying in Vancouver. I’d rather be direct. I could really use some links to my essay writing learning website and I would be glad if you would accept my comment here. This resource is a free website that facilitates students on the methods of writing essays and I am positive that learners and students will consider it helpful. Once again, I hope you will accept my comments, and I thank you in gratitude.

  11. 14
  12. 15
  13. 16

    Hello, Dear blogger!
    I’m Gianna from Netherlands and I am Teacher.
    You wrote a interesting text, I am added it to my Fire Fox fast rss reader.
    piece of your text interesting for my website friends.
    I want share your passage to my personal website.
    Can i to do that, if I place a link to your superb site ?
    I found your skillful issue in the bing ..
    Looks like your interesting personal blog have 6 thousands visitors at your wonderful personal now, skillful effect for every author.

  14. 18
  15. 19
  16. 20

    I give birth to infer from a only one of the articles on your website in the present circumstances, and I really like your fashionableness of blogging. I added it to my favorites net age muster and last will and testament be checking promote soon. Cheer check out of order my site as ok and vindicate me know what you think. Thanks.

  17. 21
  18. 22

    Certainly completely along with your conclusions and believe that you’ve made some excellent points. Also, I prefer customized for specific cultures of one’s site plus the easier navigation. I’ve bookmarked your blog and can return often!

  19. 23
  20. 24
  21. 25
  22. 26
  23. 27
  24. 28
  25. 29

    I’ve turn out to be a devoted admirer of the website for some time but not actually supplied just one thing back, I hope to alter that within the future with more conversation.Thanks for another new addition to the internet website.

  26. 30
  27. 31
  28. 32
  29. 33
  30. 34
  31. 35
  32. 36

    Excellent article and easy to understand explanation. How do I go about getting permission to post part of the article in my upcoming news letter? Giving proper credit to you the author and link to the site would not be a problem.

  33. 37
  34. 38
  35. 39

    Well this kind of information is really worth searching for, good information for readers and a value for you as will definitely show the quality of the writer. It’s good to have these kinds of articles around to keep the information flow steady. Helping those who really can make things right in the future, good work!

  36. 40

    *Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

Leave a Reply