Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 25, 2020

How Do Flying Snakes Glide Through the Air?

The New York Times reports on snakes who glide through the air

Flying is a bit of a misnomer for what the snakes do. The slithering airborne creatures tend to fall strategically or glide, meaning they do not gain altitude like a bird or an insect. Their flights generally last only a couple of seconds, at a speed of around 25 miles per hour, and they land without injury. To the untrained eye, it might look as if the snake just fell out of a tree by accident, wiggling frantically as it plummets to earth. Not so.

Once it goes airborne — after inching out on a tree limb and pushing off the branch — the snake moves its ribs and muscles to extend the width of its underside, transforming its body into a structure that redirects airflow like a parachute or a wing. A cross section of the snake’s body midair would show that its normal circular shape becomes triangular and the whole body undulates as it glides toward its target.

Read full story at How Do Flying Snakes Glide Through the Air? ‘It’s Hard to Believe’ – The New York Times

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