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Boa constrictor adaptations

Updated November 21, 2016

Boa constrictors are related to anacondas, though smaller in size. Boas have adapted to survive. Constrictors have powerful muscles that help to subdue prey. A constrictor's teeth help to keep prey within a snake's power. Camouflage helps to hide a boa from predators and hunters. Snake pits and the Jacobson's organ help boas identify prey while seeking them out.

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According to Blank Park Zoo in Iowa, a constrictor will wrap his body around his prey, suffocating his prey as the creature tries to breathe. As the prey tries to catch her breath, the constrictor will continually tighten his grip around his prey. The prey is unable to escape due to the boa's powerful grip. Once the prey is killed, the boa will swallow its prey whole, beginning with the animal's head.

Teeth and Jaws

Though constrictors are capable of killing prey with constriction, teeth can come in handy. A boa has sharp, crooked teeth lining its jaws. These teeth impale prey as the prey struggles to break free from a boa's grasp. According to National Geographic, a boa can stretch its jaws open wide to swallow prey whole. Because of a boa's teeth and jaws, it's capable of catching and eating prey larger than its body. A boa can catch and consume prey as large as wild pigs and monkeys.


Boas are both arboreal creatures and land lovers. Depending on whether a boa resides on land or in a tree, colour blending is a way of camouflaging from predators. Boas are primarily tan, brown and silver. However, boas also be green, red and yellow. Boas can have patterns that are circular, jagged and diamond in shape.

Snake Pit Sensors

Snake pit sensors help boas sense predators. These pits act as heat sensors by allowing boas to determine temperature variations in prey and in land backgrounds. The sensors are small, hollowed-out pits on the front of a boa's face. According to the American Museum of Natural History, snake pits can help detect temperature variations as small as "a few thousandths of a degree." This can help a boa make out an image of its prey prior to the prey's capture.

Jacobson's Organ

The Jacobson's organ is located within the roof of a snake's mouth. It helps to detect and identify prey. A boa will stick out its tongue to taste the air. As the boa catches airborne particles, it will then stick its tongue back into its mouth. Jacobson's organ identifies the particles , which will allow the boa to track down its prey.

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