Slithering on Air: Flying snakes glide through the treetops | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Slithering on Air: Flying snakes glide through the treetops

1:27pm, August 7, 2002

Tree-climbing animals that can fly or glide are more likely than others to survive a fall. Though only birds, insects, and bats can truly fly, many animals, such as flying squirrels and flying lizards, have evolved wing-like flaps of skin for floating–at least briefly–on air.

Snakes generally aren't well suited for flight. So, scientists had assumed that snakes that move through air are merely parachuting from tall trees. However, a new study demonstrates that at least one species of flying snake does glide, and it does so nearly as well as other gliding animals.

The paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) of Southeast Asia slithers while in the air, creating fleeting S-shape wings, says a report in the Aug. 8 Nature. The snake also flat

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content