The boa constrictor is a large, heavy species of snake found throughout Mexico, much of Central America and South America, along with some Caribbean islands. They are best known for their impressive size and weight and have been recorded to reach lengths of 4.3 m (14 ft) and weights of up to 45 kg (99 lbs). However, the size and weight of these animals varies considerably between subspecies and the average boa constrictor is about 2.4 m (8ft) long with a weight of around 10 kg (22 lbs). The size of these snakes is also very dependent on the availability of suitable prey. Let’s take a look at the common diet of the boa constrictor.
What do boa constrictors eat?
Boa constrictors are carnivores (meat eaters) and ambush predators, which means they lie in wait for their prey. They will feed on virtually any small to medium sized mammal or bird, as well as the occasional lizard and amphibian. The majority of their diet consists of rodents, but are capable of eating animals as large as an ocelot. Young boa constrictors have a similar diet, but will generally prey on smaller animals such as mice, small birds, lizards, amphibians and bats. The size of the prey increases as the animals grows.
A boa constrictor usually hunts at night and will lie in wait until suitable prey enters their strike zone. They first bite the prey with their teeth and then coil their long, heavy body around the prey to squeeze (constrict) it until it is dead. They then consume the prey whole and their teeth and muscles force the prey down their throat and into the stomach. It takes about four to six days to fully digest their food, depending on the size of the prey and temperature, and they will not eat again for a period of time (anywhere from a week to a few months).
The following is a video of a boa constrictor catching and killing their prey (WARNING: This video shows a snake biting and killing live prey and may not be suitable for younger viewers!).