From here.According to new research in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the constrictor part of boa constrictor actually refers to the snake’s squeeze cutting off its prey’s blood supply—not its breath.Despite sounding worse, it actually ends things for the poor little critter about to be lunch much faster: While most animals can survive short periods without breathing, once the snake begins to squeeze, it cuts off the victim’s circulation, causing the animal to pass out within seconds. . . . the prey soon dies from heart failure, not shortness of breath.