‘Flying’ snakes and other animals of Borneo

This is a flying snake video.

From National Wildlife Magazine in the USA:

Borneo’s Wild Gliders

By Tim Laman

From snakes and frogs to giant squirrels, this Southeast Asian island is home to a greater variety of flying animals than any other place on Earth

IT WAS AN ORDINARY looking snake, moving along a tree branch in the dappled light of Borneo’s rain forest. Suddenly, dropping off the branch, it hung by its tail and pushed off, leaping into the damp air. Was this snake really flying? It seemed like a wild dream—or to someone with a fear of snakes, perhaps the worst nightmare. But there it was, changing shape as it began to drop, ribs spreading and body flattening, swimming through the air like a water snake crossing a pond, but with its body flat as a ribbon. The snake, Chrysopelea paradise, or paradise tree snake, angled down and landed on a lower branch.

The scene could have been witnessed only in the rain forests of Southeast Asia, where there are several kinds of flying snakes. And snakes are just the first on a list of curious creatures that take to the air to get from tree to tree. More than 60 gliding species inhabit the region’s forests, 33 of them on Borneo alone. In addition to snakes, the island is home to flying lemurs, lizards, squirrels, geckos and frogs.

Though they’re called “flying,” these animals cannot really fly like birds or bats that propel themselves through the air. Yet they do much more than simply parachute out of a tree and plop to the ground. The animals travel like hang gliders, subtly shifting body weight or adjusting tails and limbs to steer a controlled flight path through the canopy labyrinth. And all have body structures that increase surface area, making them better airfoils.

Huia cavitympanum, the frog lives only on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo; and communicates ultrasonically: here.

Flying snakes, caught on tape. Virginia Tech researchers analyze secrets of gliding reptiles presentation at fluid dynamics meeting today in Long Beach, Calif.: here.

Northern flying squirrels are rapidly disappearing from Pennsylvania forests. Southern flying squirrels are taking over: here.

9 thoughts on “‘Flying’ snakes and other animals of Borneo

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