Guest Author - Sylvie Leochko
The Chrysopelea a.k.a. the flying snake acquired its nickname due to its gliding ability. This type of snake is known to live in forests as they mostly live at the trees� top. It belongs to the Colubridae family. There are five species of flying snakes: the Chrysopelea Ornata (Golden Tree snake), the Chrysopelea Paradisi (Paradise Tree snake), the Chrysopelea Pelias (Twin-barred Tree snake or Banded flying snake), the Chrysopelea Rhodopleuron (Moluccan flying snake) and the Chrysopelea taprobanica (Sri Lankan flying snake). The Golden Tree snake is the largest species of flying snakes. The Paradise Tree snake is considered to be the best glider as it is the most agile species. The Twin-barred Tree snake is the tiniest species and the rarest one of them all.
The length of these species varies between 61 cm (2 feet) and 1.2 m (4 feet). The smallest species are known to fly longer distances than larger ones. In fact, the aerial distance can reach up to 100 m (330 feet). In fact, they are considered to be better gliders than the flying squirrel.
This type of snake is not considered an agile climber, especially larger species. Its body can climb vertically up to trees.
How can a snake fly? Well, when reaching the end of a branch, part of its body hangs in the J shape. It will spot a safe landing area then will propel itself by flattening it stomach. It will double its width. The Chrysopelea will adopt an S shape in order to propel itself with force. During its "flight", it will slither in midair to make turns and reach a longer distance. It will use the air to glide safely to the landing area. The concave C shape adopted during his "flight" resembles a flat disc or Frisbee. This is a useful technique as it keeps the flying snake safe from terrestrial predators.
This carnivore reptile is diurnal, which means it hunts during the day. Its diet includes: bats, birds, frogs, lizards and rodents.
The natural habitat of the Chrysopelea or flying snake is located in Southeast Asia, India and the Melanesian islands.
This snake species is considered mildly venomous but are considered harmless to humans due to their rear fixed tiny fangs.
Here are some resources linked to flying snakes.