Saturday, 1 February 2014

Secrets of flying snakes revealed

By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC World Service

The mystery of how flying snakes stay aloft may have been solved by scientists.

These unusual reptiles, which are found in rainforests in Southeast Asia, are able to fling themselves from trees and elegantly glide through the air.

Scientists say that the serpents radically alter their body shape to generate the aerodynamic forces needed to perform this feat.

Professor Jake Socha, from Virginia Tech in the US, who carried out the study, said: "The snake is definitely not an intuitive glider. When you look at it, you say: 'that thing should not be able to glide'. And in its normal body configuration that is probably true.

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