Defense Dept Trying to Learn Secrets of Flying Snakes

Agency funding research into reptile's aerodynamics
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2010 1:34 PM CST
Updated Nov 27, 2010 10:00 AM CST

(Newser) – A type of snake in Asia can remain airborne far longer than any snake should, and the Defense Department wants it to give up its secrets. The feds are funding Virginia Tech studies to figure out the aerodynamics of the tree-dwelling reptile (genus Chrysopelea), reports the Washington Post. The biologist in charge tells LiveScience the secret involves how the snake moves (often after taking a nosedive to pick up speed).

"The whole snake itself is just one long wing," says Jake Socha. "That wing is constantly reconfiguring, it's constantly reforming and contorting." The Post asked the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency how it might apply the knowledge to military technology but didn't hear back.

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