Rat Results The Snakes Struck Quickly, Biting The Rats' Heads And Wrapping Their Bodies Around The Prey.
“He suspected that it was circulatory or cardiac arrest because of the speed at which death was occurring.” To investigate, Boback and his colleagues tested how anesthetized rats responded to boas’ constriction. But first they had to perform rat surgery: They implanted electrocardiogram electrodes to measure the rats’ heart rates, and inserted blood pressure catheters into a major artery and vein in each rat. “We did that with an artery and a vein because we wanted to see both sides of the circulatory system ,” Boback said. (Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the organs, and veins return de-oxygenated blood to the heart.) They also inserted a pressure probe, and took a blood sample from each of the 24 rats, before placing them, anesthetized , next to the hungry snakes. After the rats died, the researchers removed them before the snakes had time to devour the rodents to take another blood sample. Then, they gave the snakes more dead rats to eat. “They actually exert a lot of energy to constrict, and we wanted to allow them to recoup their energy,” Boback said. Rat results The snakes struck quickly, biting the rats’ heads and wrapping their bodies around the prey. The sensors embedded in the rats showed that the rodents’ circulation shut down within seconds of the attack, Boback said.
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