A gliding snake gets some lift by spreading its ribs
A snake jumping out a window looks nothing like a paper airplane.
Few snakes do anything but fall, but the paradise flying snake widens and flattens its body as if trying to catch some lift. And instead of holding a straight Superman pose, it undulates and whips S-curves in the air in a 3-D motion people don’t have a word for. “Just watch the video,” says biomechanist Jake Socha of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Launching from a 10-meter height, Chrysopelea paradisi can glide outward 10 meters, and Socha has witnessed a champion glide of 21 meters. It’s the most accomplished aerialist of the five Chrysopelea gliding snake species, all from Southern and Southeast Asia.