How to Avoid Being Crushed by a Boa Constrictor

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This post courtesy BBC Earth. For more wildlife news, find BBC Earth on Facebook and Posterous.

Never one to shy away from getting hands on with the animal kingdoms greatest hunters, “Deadly 60” presenter Steve Backshall gets to grips with the heavy-bodied king of the squeeze.

The strongman of the snake world, a boa constrictor is capable of exerting 6 to 12 lbs per square inch of pressure, and literally squeezes the life out of its prey, as Steve found when he tested this… on himself!

Not a situation many of us would like to find ourselves in. Here’s how to behave around the big guns.

• Back off: If you come across a snake, especially a big one, give it a wide berth. They’re shy and would rather be left alone.

• An angry snake is a dangerous snake: don’t poke or harass them, you could be asking for trouble.

• Leave it to the experts: Dealing with snakes is a tricky business. Steve is an expert herpetologist, and is used to handling snakes.

• Help at hand: Never handle big constricting snakes alone. Steve had a number of strong men at hand to remove the snake if he got too hot under the collar.

• Remain calm: Director Nikki ensured no one startled the snake as it may cause it to tighten its grip further.

• Medical help: When attempting to handle a big snake like this, director Nikki ensured that the team consisted of first aiders, and local snake experts.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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