How boa constrictors kill: not by suffocating prey (VIDEO).

High-Speed Footage Shows Boa Constrictors Don’t Suffocate Victims At All (Video)

High-Speed Footage Shows Boa Constrictors Don’t Suffocate Victims At All (Video)

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Aug. 3 2015 11:37 AM

How Boa Constrictors Really Kill

Prey doesn’t die from suffocation.

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According to new research in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the constrictor part of boa constrictor actually refers to the snake’s squeeze cutting off its prey’s blood supply—not its breath.

Despite sounding worse, it actually ends things for the poor little critter about to be lunch much faster: While most animals can survive short periods without breathing, once the snake begins to squeeze, it cuts off the victim’s circulation, causing the animal to pass out within seconds. As seen in the high-speed video above, the prey soon dies from heart failure, not shortness of breath.

Jim Festante is an actor/writer in Los Angeles and regular video contributor to Slate. He is the author of the Image Comics miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben.