Prey is killed by a process known as constriction; after an animal has been grasped to restrain it, a number of coils are hastily wrapped around it. Then, by applying and maintaining sufficient pressure to prevent it from inhaling, the prey eventually succumbs due to asphyxiation. It has recently been suggested that the pressures produced during constriction cause cardiac arrest by interfering with blood flow, but this hypothesis has not yet been confirmed. As opposed to popular belief, prey is not crushed; even when constricting normal sized prey, sufficient pressure to break bones is almost certainly never applied.
Larger specimens usually eat animals about the size of a house cat, but larger food items are not unknown: some large Asian species have been known to take down adult Deer, and the African rock python, Python sebae, has been known to eat Gazelle). Prey is swallowed whole, and may take anywhere from several days or even weeks to fully digest. Despite their intimidating size and muscular power, they are generally not dangerous to humans.
Posted by jai on Sunday, November 18, 2007