Nov 30, 2010

Science Scene - Flying Snakes

Mankind has long shown an apprehension toward – one might even say a phobia of – airborne snakes. 

Perhaps it’s the ability of these flying reptiles to strike fear into even the steeliest of human hearts that has the Pentagon interested in just exactly how these snakes perform their aerial acrobatics.

How do the snakes do it? The don’t really fly, per se, but rather fall with purpose. The snakes climb to the tops of the tallest trees, some 200 feet in the air, and then take a leap. But their method for turning their elongated forms into aerodynamic vehicles is pretty amazing, allowing them to travel nearly 800 feet laterally as they descend. They do this by first falling to pick up speed, then by initiating a strange aerial dance that essentially turns their bodies into one long wing. Some of them can actually pull off a turn in the air.

The first video gives you an idea (23 seconds) and the second is more detailed and more fascinating.



  1. snakes on a plane reference time!

    ( it too soon in the day?)


  2. I heard about this on npr and shuddered.

  3. This I did not know. I hate snakes. Now I have to worry about them diving out of a tree, at me.

  4. Fascinating. I've never heard of this before.


  5. Dag... Alaina beat me to it!

    What I took from this was how nature forces its way through things that logic says should not happen or even be a part of a creatures realm.

  6. WOW!!! That's so cool... it's like the spiral of a frisbee!!


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