On April 14, 2016 the Red-tailed Boa decided to have its lunch at Kabalebo.
The Red-tailed Boa (Boa constrictor constrictor) is a common reptile in Kabalebo. Also a non venemous snake, meaning that it has to strangle its prey before devouring. On April 14, 2016 I got to witness this rare opportunity.
Right after my own lunch I saw a small heap between all the leaves in the shadow. A young Red-tailed boa just caught an Amazon whiptail (Ameiva ameiva). As I didn't want to disturb this little predator but at the same time didn't want to miss this rare occasion I decided to use my assistent: the iPhone. While the boa was still busy strangling its prey I positioned the iPhone on a bench and filmed the whole ordeal for 12 minutes. So these close up pictures are actually stills taken from the iPhone while filming.
(Stills from the iPhone film): As you can see in the first 2 pictures, the Red-tailed boa held on tight until it was certain that its prey was lifeless. Otherwise it will injure itself during the whole swallowing process.
(Stills from the iPhone film): now it is preparing for its lunch. First it takes its prey by the head and lay it out in full length. The Amazon whiptail was approximately 30 cm long. The Red-tailed boa uses its teeth to have a firm grip during the whole process.
The first picture is a still from the iPhone film: as you can see, the Red-tailed boa works its way towards its prey as it stood on the same spot the whole time.
The second picture I took myself (distance of 5 meters): here you can clearly see the last part of the Amazon whiptail with its hindlegs still visible.
(These picture were taken by me): you can clearly see how flexible its jaw can get. If not for the previous pictures, you would have thought that this boa has a strange looking tongue. After devouring/swallowing its prey, the Red-tailed boa took a break for half an hour before going back into its hiding spot.
This whole lunch break of the Red-tailed Boa lasted only 18 minutes.
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