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Flying snakes.

These snakes don't just slither. They also sail through the air! Flying snakes in Southeast Asia can glide 24 meters (79 feet) or more from tree to tree. They use the lower halves of their bodies to launch themselves from branches.

A team of scientists recently studied how the snakes fly. In the air, they flatten their bodies and curve into an "S." The wide, flat shape creates lift. This upward force slows their fall.

As they glide, the snakes make a slithering motion. This seems to help them steer, says Jake Socha, the scientist who led the team. "They look like they're swimming through the air."

How a snake glides

1 The snake hangs in a "j" shape before it launches.

2 In the air, the snake flexes into an "S" shape. It flattens its body to create more upward force.

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Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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