Flying Snakes, Chrysopelea, Being Researched By Department Of Defense (VIDEO)
Watch your head!
The Washington Post reports that the Department of Defense is funding research into a special snake in Asia that can slither through the air. By letting itself drop from a tall tree to pick up speed, flattening its body into twice its normal width and curving to catch the air, undulating as it goes, it can turn it's thin body into essentially a giant wing that will take it to a landing spot up to 780 feet away. It can flip over, a technique that is not yet fully understood, and even beats out the flying squirrel in gliding skill.
The snakes, who live in Southeast Asia, India and southern China, are between two and three feet long with a body the width of a finger. They are slightly venomous, but are harmless to humans. According to National Geographic, the chrysopelea--as it is scientifically known--is abundant and has no special conservation status.
John Socha, the Virginia Tech researcher who has traveled Asia filming the snakes, had his most recent paper funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, who he says is interested in the dynamics of the unusual snake.
WATCH the snake fly through the treetops: