Little is known about how such snakes “fly” before a team of scientists from Virginia Tech published a new research paper on Monday.
Experts say snakes fly through the air, so study lead chief Isaac Yeaton told CNN that the team understood how they do it.
Snakes make a wavy motion as they move through the air, and researchers wondered why they did so.
The team had a basic understanding of cheating, thanks to the work of studio author Jake Soch, who has been studying snakes for about 20 years, Yeaton said.
All snakes turn when they move on the ground, but flying snakes do the same in the air.
You don’t need to fall strictly wavy, so that raises the question, “well, why are they wavy,” Yeaton said.
One hypothesis was that it was a basic motor model for snakes built over millions of years, but Yeaton said they now understand how ripples stabilize sliding and prevent snakes from descending, as well as allowing them to cross more horizontal distances.
Researchers at Virginia Tech conducted an experiment with live snakes and also developed a computational model. “It’s a big step forward,” Yeaton said.
The next phase for researchers is to observe snakes jumping from trees – or sliding – outside, Yeaton said, as well as exploring how they create lift and how they spin in the air.
He said CNN snakes are “question-making organisms” and there are still many mysteries to be solved.
“As soon as you look at it, you look like‘ how is it done? “, Said Yeaton, who added that this is why so many people are afraid of reptiles.
“We have a visceral response to snakes,” he said. “Then the idea that this animal can fly then is very disturbing to humans.”
The entire study was published in the journal Nature Physics.