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This species of snakes can fly — and now, scientists finally understand how they do it

Posted at 8:41 AM, Jul 01, 2020

Anyone scared of snakes on the ground may not want to read this story — because the reptiles are also in the sky.

The paradise snake, which is native to south and southeast Asia, has been known to scientists for some time. But they never really understood how the species — and others like it — are able to glide through the air.

Researchers at Virginia Tech conducted controlled tests with the snakes in an indoor environment. They discovered that the undulating motion the snakes exhibit while gliding stabilizes them, which allows them to fly further. Previously, researchers thought the snakes' movements in the air were the same movement they used when slithering on the ground.

Now, researchers say they want to learn how the snakes generate lift and how they can turn in the air.

Luckily, while the paradise snake is poisonous, its venom is weak compared to other species. Like almost all snakes, the paradise snake is considered harmless to humans.