Boa constrictor - Cannibals?

Normally Boa constrictor doesn't feed on other boids. But it can happen in rare cases as the photos prove that Markus Bär has put to our disposal.

The boa in the photo is a Boa c. imperator from El Salvador, who had been kept in the same cage as a ball python (the poor guy). Either snake was of approximately the same size.

The boa ate the ball python and (due to the size of the python) regurgitated it a few days later.

We assume that the boa stroke for the python for some reason. Maybe the boa lay in wait and the python made a careless move. This may have induced a chain of reaction in the boa that made it consume the python.

We want to stress that boids normally doesn't fit in the prey pattern of Boa constrictor snakes. This was surely an isolated case and an absolute exception. Normally you don't need to be afraid when you house your Boa constrictor along with other boids.

We thank Markus Bär for putting the photos to our exclusive disposal.

Like all the other photos on our website, the "snake ate snake" photos are subject to the copyright and must not be copied. 

The El Salvador Boa after eating the ball python

The ball python who is folded in the stomach of the boa is clearly recognizable

A shot from above showing the ball python in the stomach of the boa

The ball python after it was regurgitated

The gastric acid of the boa has already started to dissolve the head of the python


News from the reptile show in Hamm

Here is an email that we have got in September 13, 2004:


I have a question or rather I need some help on a Boa c.c.

On Saturday I have bought a boa c.c. in the reptile show in Hamm. At home I put it in a cage and left it alone firstly. Today I have noticed that its behaviour is kinda weird. The boa tried to scramble upwards on the pane but then lost control of its body and fell down. When the animal is cringing it looks like
that it is a little bit crooked.

When I am handling the boa it is moving very weird as though it has no control. Also, it is not feeding.

I have not applied any chemical substances (mite repellents or such stuff).  I have called the seller (breeder) and he meant that the boa is suffering from a poisonous substance. (...)


How should this have happened?

I hope that you can help me.



... in all of our books we warn against buying boas at reptile shows. On our website we are ranting against reptile shows. Meanwhile we ask ourselves what else we can do in order to convince the last sceptic not to buy animals in a reptile show.