Bad news for those of you already creeped out by snakes: some of them can fly.
Researchers are taking a deeper look at the Chrysopelea genus of snakes found in Southeast Asia in hopes of finding out how the snakes manage to glide for up to 100 feet through the air. The snakes are seen in the forest gliding from tree to tree in a slithering motion. Although they are mildly venomous, the snakes use the amazing ability to escape predators. To a casual observer, it looks like they are magically slithering through the air.
“They look like they are swimming,” researcher Jake Socha said. “They turn their whole body into one aerodynamic surface.”
After analyzing the snake’s body pattern in flight, Socha and his team found that the snakes glide by altering the shape of their body cavity midair. They flex out their ribs and tighten their muscles to transform their body cavities from the standard circle shape of a snake’s cavity into an arched semi-circle. The arched body cavity creates lift when flying through the air, and – voila – you’ve got a flying snake. The team's findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
“It looks like someone’s version of a UFO,” Socha joked.
Yes, flying snakes look just as weird as you think they would. Check out this video and see for yourself: