Can snakes fly?

April 14, 2021

What a scary thought! It’s bad enough to encounter a snake on the ground, but airborne?

Thankfully, very few snakes are known to take to the air. There is one species, Chrysopelea paradisi — or paradise tree snake —that can pull this off in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

Flying pigs are probably an artifact of a tornado that has sucked them up, but these snakes don’t need such help. They are known to fly from tree to tree without ever touching the ground.

To be fair, these snakes don’t actually fly, but they do glide and can even gain altitude with an updraft in the air. National Geographic even alludes to them travelling about 330 feet (100 meters) in such flight. They do need a jumping off point like a high tree branch.

Not truly flying is just fine. Their ability to glide gracefully and alight on another tree branch or even the ground without getting hurt is awesome enough.

A research project at Virginia Tech has studied them and discovered their techniques for staying afloat in the air. They can actually pilot themselves to a destination during their ‘flight’. Here’s a video that explains more:

A Nature video on the Paradise Tree Snake

The web has many articles describing the Paradise Tree Snake’s skill of ‘flying’ and other characteristics. The most troubling characteristic: They are venomous. Good news: They are mildly venomous.

What does that mean?

Just that its bite won’t kill you. A bite from this 4-foot long rear-fanged reptile can “cause swelling and pain at the bite site,” reports These snakes can be found all over Thailand (and other Southeast Asian countries). The thailandsnakes site reports that one was found in a handbag shop at the beach!

I am going to rethink my desire to visit Thailand.


Remember the bowl of lemons waiting to be pickled? They have been.

Take a look at what became of them and the recipe I followed to get them transformed.


P. Venkat Raman


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