Scientists Discover Rainbow Boa Preying on a Vampire Bat

Posted on October 4, 2016

Rainbow boa constricting a vampire bat

Scientists discovered a rainbow boa trying to eat a large vampire bat. The vampire bat was seen capturing and swallowing the vampire bat in a cave in Tena, Ecuador. The scientists recorded the event on video. The researchers were led by Sarah Martin-Solano, Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas, ESPE, Ecuador. The scientists say "no bat as big and heavy as the common vampire, has been described being killed and eaten prior to the present study."

The scientists observed the rainbow bat snatch a female vampire bat out of the air as it flew overhead. The boa strangled the bat for about seven minutes and then tried different positions to fit the bat in its mouth. The boa failed to fit the vampire bat in its mouth so it tried constricting the bat's body again. Eventually the boa was able to swallow the bat. The boa swallowed the entire bat in 4 minutes and 50 seconds.

The researchers say in their research paper, "Viewing that the prey was too difficult to swallow because of the joint stiffness shoulder, E. cenchria begins again the process of constriction, for which moves their initial proportion of their body and wraps hardly the prey, this process extend by 1 minute and 2 seconds and immediately begins definitive swallow process until swallowing the whole Desmodus with a duration of 4 minutes and 50 seconds."

A research paper on the discovered was published in Subterranean Biology. Here is footage of the boa swallowing the vampire bat:



Photo: Sarah Martin-Solano