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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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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