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Are Pythons Constrictors?

are pythons constrictors

Yes, a python is a constrictor. Pythons grab their prey with their teeth and constrict it by coiling its body tightly, squeezing hard until the prey stops breathing.

When pythons constrict their prey, they do not crush the bones of the victim. Instead, they make it hard for the prey to breathe. Every time the prey exhales, the python squeezes tighter until the prey dies.

Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmedConsult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.

What is the Difference Between a Python and a Constrictor?

constrictor snake
Image: Constrictors squeeze their prey

Python is a species of snake. It belongs to the family of Pythonidae. A constrictor, on the other hand, is a description of how a snake attacks its prey.

There are 41 species of pythons, all of which are constrictors. However, not all constrictors are pythons. For example, the boa is also a constrictor, but it is not a snake that belongs to the python family.

(Boas give birth to live young, whereas pythons lay eggs)

In short, a python is a type of snake. On the other hand, a constrictor is a description by which a snake attacks its prey.

There are other types of snakes that we can classify as constrictors. For example, a rat snake, kingsnake, and corn snake are all constrictors. They are part of the Colubridae family, but they’re not exactly pythons or boas. 

What is a Constrictor Snake?


A constrictor snake is any kind of snake that uses constriction to kill its prey. Some constrictors are venomous, but most of them are non-venomous.

When a constrictor snake attacks its prey, it bites the prey and holds on. After that, the snake pulls the prey to it and coils around it. If the prey is larger than the snake, the snake will pull itself to the prey and wrap itself around it.

A constrictor snake has powerful muscles. The muscles are so powerful that they can prevent the prey from breathing. One popular myth is that constrictor snakes crush the bones of their victims. This is not true.

When a constrictor snake wraps itself around the prey, it causes death by cutting off the blood flow and making it difficult for the prey to breathe. Another myth is that constrictors suffocate their victims. This is also not true.

Modern studies show that a constrictor snake pretty much shuts off the flow of blood in the victim’s body. Because of this, the victim’s body cannot transport blood to the heart and brain. After a little while, this leads to unconsciousness and eventually, cardiac arrest.

Because of this, the prey dies of cardiac arrest, not by suffocation or asphyxiation. Many constrictor snakes begin eating their prey while it’s still alive.

Can a Python Kill a Human?


Yes, a python could theoretically kill a human. Specifically, the reticulated python is one that preys on humans. Although attacks on humans are not common, it happens. Because of this, The United States banned the import and interstate transport of the reticulated python.

There have been reports of reticulated pythons attacking humans and killing them in the wild and in captivity. Generally speaking, a python can swallow a human. However, humans have broad shoulders, making it difficult for any snake to swallow a human whole.

If the human being is small, the python would have an opportunity to swallow the victim. Most of the time, however, the python would just kill the human being and then leave it alone.

However, there have been reports of a Python eating a human being. These reports have been validated. One example is the case of a woman who fell prey to a python in 1638. This incident happened in the Banda Islands, and the Dutch soldiers that captured the python opened it and found the female victim inside.

Are Pythons Venomous?

Pythons are non-venomous. They do not possess any venom. Pythons, however, are constrictors. They are one of the most powerful constrictors in all of the snake species.

Despite being non-venomous, one should not think that a bite from a python will not hurt. If anything, all reptiles have destructive pathogens like bacteria and viruses in their mouths. A bite from a python can be the method by which this virus is get transferred to the human being.

Snakes can be carriers of worm-like parasites. This parasite can live inside a human and make the human its host.

In most snake bites, the bite can cause pain and swelling. One bad thing that can happen is the person may have an allergic reaction to the bite. In the worst of conditions, the bite can lead to anaphylaxis.


How do Pythons Kill their Prey?

Pythons strike with accuracy, and they bite their prey. If the prey is small, the python pulls back its head to its body while carrying the prey. As it does this, it coils the rest of its body calls around the prey.

On the other hand, if the prey is big, like a deer, the python would pull itself towards the prey and then wrap its body around it. Once the python has done this, the victim has little to no chance of getting out of the python’s grip.

Pythons are usually nocturnal hunters. They also hunt in ambush. What this means is that they will stay still, waiting for prey to come by. Once that prey comes over, the python is going to strike.

Pythons have strong bites. Although not much has been done to study it, some experts suggest that a python can bite with a force of 200 pounds per square inch. Humans, on the other hand, can only produce 169 pounds per square inch for each bite.

Summary: Are Pythons Constrictors?

Pythons are constrictors. They are one of the most powerful constrictors among all snakes. If there is any snake that can rival the python, it is the Anaconda.

Pythons do not have venom. However, their bites still hurt, and they can deliver pathogens that can cause serious illnesses to a human being.

One of the most dangerous pythons is the reticulated python. In many stories of pythons killing human beings, it is usually the reticulated python that did it.

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