Flying snakes or paradise tree snakes wiggle and glide enabling them to travel in the air within an incredible speed, according to a study.
Snakes usually wiggle their bodies to propel themselves on land or through water.
In a study published in Nature Physics, scientists from Virginia Tech studied the “aerial undulation” of these snakes after developing the first continuous, anatomically accurate 3D mathematical model.
Paradise tree snakes belong to the Chrysopelea family, which is only known limbless vertebrates capable of flight. While scientists knew this, they still have to conduct studies to explain it.
The team of researchers developed the 3D model after measuring 100 live snake glides. It considered frequencies of undulating waves, their direction, forces acting on the body, and mass distribution.
Using these factors, the team then ran virtual experiments to investigate aerial undulation.
When the researchers finally did a test of simulated glides and continuous undulation, they assumed aerial undulation enhances rotational stability in flying snakes.
Meanwhile, the team still believes that paradise tree snakes do other movements in their body aside from undulation. However, it is difficult to see them in naked eye.
Flying snakes always jump, curving its body into a J-loop and spring up and out. As it launches, snakes reconfigure their shape, flattening its body except the tail.
Further, the team believes studies like this will lay ground architecture and design based on nature.