Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air

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Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air

Some people are allergic to reptiles, such as snakes. So they afraid to see those snakes on the ground. But what happens when they got to know about the flying snakes. They probably keen on both land and air. Therefore, the studies have made on the area to understand the way they able to glide through the air.

Flying snakes formally known as Chrysopelea lives mainly in South-East Asia to Southernmost China, India, and Sri Lanka. When we compare with the other snakes, the ability to fly through the air makes them unique. Mostly they fly from a tree to ground, which looks likes the same way they are floating in the water.

Many have just found out that there are snakes that can glide through the air and scientists are studying how they do it

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Jake Socha

Researchers from Virginia Tech are trying to find out more about this with the help of flying snakes, namely the paradise tree snake (Lat. Chrysopelea paradise). They observed that when the snakes are flying, it transforms its body—from a rounded, cylinder-like shape into a flat one.

Researchers from Virginia Tech released a study that examines how flying snakes actually glide through the air

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Jake Socha

Apparently, they can flatten their bodies and undulate (zigzag) to slow down falling, thus increasing their gliding distance and maintaining stability

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Michael Diersing

“It’s kind of akin to what a cobra looks like from behind. When a cobra hoods up, that hood there is formed by its ribs. And in the flying snake, what it does is it moves those ribs to the side and forward toward the head, and effectively what it does is it doubles its width,” explained Dr. Socha, Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in Virginia Tech.

Researchers built testing grounds where they stuck some motion capture tech on a snake to study its glide

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Isaac Yeaton, Shane Ross, Grant Baumgardner and Jake Socha

Thanks to this, they have managed to make a 3D model and simulate the movement on a computer

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Isaac Yeaton, Shane Ross, Grant Baumgardner and Jake Socha

This exciting research has proven that the snakes are mostly ropes that have no arms, legs, wings, or any other body parts that would allow them to glide. And this is not the end of the story because those researchers are aiming to continue their studies further, namely the flying snake’s aerodynamics and sensory systems.

Tests showed that undulation is meant to keep the snake stable in the air while also increasing its travel distance

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Isaac Yeaton, Shane Ross, Grant Baumgardner and Jake Socha

Besides understanding how flying snakes glide, the study’s results can also be applied to robotics

Flying snakes? Here’s how they can glide through the air
Image credits: Jake Socha

Check out this video detailing the study and showing some flying snakes in action

Video Credit: nature video

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