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    Posted on Nov 23, 2014

    Fair Warning: Some Snakes Can Fly

    And they don't need a plane, either.

    Gihan Jayaweera / Via commons.wikimedia.org

    Meet Chrysopelea. Chrysopelea is a genus of snakes commonly referred to as “flying snakes.” They are found all around Southeast Asian and yes, sometimes they can be found gliding through the air.

    By gilding from a high point, like a tree branch, to a target below, they can save energy and avoid predators on the ground.

    National Geographic Television; compiled by Jake Socha / Via youtube.com

    They do this by springing their body off the end of a branch before turning it into what some scientists refer to as a “pseudo concave wing.” They make this “wing” by sucking in their abdomens and flaring out their ribs.

    National Geographic Television; compiled by Jake Socha / Via youtube.com

    For control (yes they can actually control their direction in the air), they undulate their bodies in wave-like, s-shaped motions—the same as if they were moving on solid ground. Some can even turn mid-air!

    National Geographic Television; compiled by Jake Socha / Via youtube.com

    Scientists are still not sure how exactly these slithering wing-snakes can pull that off. But at least one group is intent on finding out—the Department of Defense. They’d like to know what these snakes know about flying that we don’t.

    Until then, though, at least they are incredibly captivating to watch.

    View this video on YouTube

    National Geographic Television; compiled by Jake Socha / Via youtube.com