How long does prey live?

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your View -

When a bird swal­lows live prey (a heron swal­low­ing a frog, say), does it die in­stantly? A Knott, Mac­cles­field

QAs far as we know, any prey swal­lowed live tends to suf­fo­cate within a cou­ple of min­utes, if the crush­ing ac­tion of the bill and throat mus­cles hasn’t al­ready killed it. Whether the dy­ing an­i­mal feels pain dur­ing this process is an­other mat­ter. Whether in­ver­te­brates in par­tic­u­lar feel pain is still con­tentious, but it’s prob­a­ble that any pain felt by live prey is muted by shock upon be­ing eaten.


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