(Photo: James Emery)
Constrictor snakes, such as pythons and anacondas, kill by squeezing their prey. But what precisely is the snake tightly coiling around your body doing that will kill you? According to an article recently published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, it's killing you by raising the blood pressure in your brain so high that you won't be able to think anymore. From the asbtract:
These and other constrictors can exert pressures dramatically higher than their prey's blood pressure, suggesting that constriction can stop circulatory function and perhaps kill prey rapidly by over-pressurizing the brain and disrupting neural function. We propose the latter “red-out effect” as another possible mechanism of prey death from constriction. These effects may be important to recognize and treat properly in rare cases when constrictors injure humans.
-via Seriously, Science?