If you’re afraid of snakes on the ground, you probably won’t be too keen about them flying through the air.
Though scientists have known about the paradise tree snake — formally known as Chrysopelea paradise — for some time, they don’t fully understand how the species — and others like it — are able to glide through the air.
Researchers at Virginia Tech conducted controlled indoor tests with the snakes and discovered that the undulating motion the reptiles exhibit while gliding stabilizes them, allowing them to fly further.
That undulation is the same movement they use to slither on the ground, so it was previously thought it was just a base motor pattern.
Researchers’ next step is to learn how the snakes generate lift and how they turn in the air.
The snakes, which only live in South and Southeast Asia, are venomous, but their venom is weak. Like almost all snakes, they are considered harmless to humans.