Snakes that glide better than flying squirrels


Chrysopelea, or more commonly known as the “flying snakes”, is a genus that belongs to the family Colubridae. Flying snakes are mildly venomous poisonous but considered harmless because their toxicity is suppose to be not dangerous to humans. Their main habitat is  Southeast Asia, the Melanesian islands, and India.

Named the “flying snakes,”they really glide not fly. To glide the snakes  will slither to the end of a branch, and dangle in a J shape. Then it propels itself from the branch with the lower half of its body, forming quickly into an S shape, and flattening to about twice its normal width. This  makes its normally round body a concave C shape so it can trap air. By moving back and forth, the snake will actually make turns. Even though they lack, any limbs, wings, or wing-like projections, these snakes can glide better than flying squirrels and other gliding animals. They cannot really consciously determine their target of flight their destination is mostly determined by ballistics; but they can make do some “slithering” in the air.

Physicists in recent years have become interested in studying the more subtle factors contribute to their flight. At the University of Chicago, scientists discovered a co-relation between size and gliding ability, smaller flying snakes were able to glide longer distances horizontally.

There are five recognized species under the genus Chrysopelea. Of these five, the following three are the best known.
Golden Tree Snake or Ornate Flying Snake, Chrysopelea ornata is the largest species of flying snake, reaching up to four feet in length. This snake is called the Golden Tree Snake, golden-tree-snake_15481but has a variety of colors and shade variations some are lime green in color rather than pure yellow, some in India dress out in orange to red markings with small black bars on the dorsum. There size decreases their gliding ability.
Paradise Tree Snake, Chrysopelea paradisi reaches up to three feet in length. Their body is black but covered in rich green scales. Clusters of red, orange and yellow-colored scales in the shape of flower petals lines the dorsal area from the base of the neck till the tail. Most well-known for its beautiful coloration, some members of this family of snakes may be solid green skinned without any bright dorsal markings. They are known as one of the best gliders among the flying snakes.

Colors vary any where from blackish, to blue, tan brown, yellow, or even green

matured Tree Snakes grow from 1 meter to 1 and 1\2 meters

The Paradise Tree Snake is considered by some to be rare, however in Singapore it is commonly encountered in a variety of habitats including mangrove, secondary forest, and paradise-tree-snake_0049parks and gardens. This is a back-fanged colubrid with weak venom sufficiently powerful to immobilieze its small prey, which comprises mainly tree-dwelling lizards. The species is active by day.

A tree-dwelling gecko makes for easy prey.

It is an adept climber, and a favored hangout is the crown of coconut palms.

Excerpts courtesy of Wikipedia: wiki/Chrysopelea

National Geographgic

Image 1. Courtesy of National Geographic

Image 2. Courtesy of  chrysopelea-paradisi-flying-snake

Image 3 & 4. Courtesy of Golden flying snake


Video courtesy of  Utube:


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