When snakes fly

When snakes fly

A gliding snake gets some lift by spreading its ribs

By Susan Milius, 18:30 PM January 29, 2014

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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 outwar...

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