Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chrysopelea - The Flying Snakes

Chrysopelea, or more commonly known as the flying snake, is a genus that belongs to the family Colubridae. Flying snakes are mildly venomous, though they are considered harmless because their toxicity is not dangerous to humans. Their range is in Southeast Asia ( the mainland, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Maluku, and the Philippines ), southernmost China, India, and Sri Lanka.


Chrysopelea is also known under its assigned common name "flying snakes". It glides by using its ridge scales along its belly, pushing against rough bark surface of tree trunks, allowing it to move vertically up a tree. Upon reaching the end of a tree's branch, the snake continues moving until its tail dangles from the branch's end. It then makes a J-shape bend, leans forward to select the level of inclination it wishes to travel to control its flight path, as well as selecting a desired landing area. Once it decides on a destination, it propels itself by thrusting its body up and away from the tree, sucking in its stomach, flaring out its ribs to turn its body in a "pseudo concave wing" all the while making a continual serpentine motion of lateral undulation parallel to the ground to stabilise its direction in midair in order to land safely.


The combination of sucking in its stomach and making a motion of lateral undulation in the air makes it possible for the snake to glide in the air, where it also manages to save energy compared to travel on the ground and dodge terrestrial bounded predators. Now take a look at some more photos of this stunning snakes...