Just when you think it might be safe to venture out, you learn about the flying snakes.

I’m pretty much scared of most things, but snakes are far and away the scariest thing to me.

I don’t want to go to the reptile house at the zoo. I don’t want them creeping around in my yard. I sure don’t want them flying.

Yet I’ve learned about a snake native to Asia (thank goodness not native to here) that flies.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University studied Chrysopelea paradisi, better known as the paradise tree snake, to learn why they wriggle their bodies when they glide through the air. The answer: stability.

That seems like common sense to me.

I understand how scientific study works. Just because something seems obvious, scientists must test their hypotheses and prove them right or wrong. That’s why a test was done to see why flying snakes wriggle, even though, obviously, it’s for stability when flying.

But why, oh, why do we need to know this? Will it help in aerodynamics? Will it enable us to build flying suits for humans? I think not.

I’m sure there’s a logical, if not scientific, reason for wanting to know more about this subject, but I’m sorry I even know the subject exists. I didn’t want to know there are flying snakes. Haven’t we already had enough trouble this year?

Isaac Yeaton, the lead author of the study, said the researchers determined the snakes undulate to stabilize their bodies in the air.

As much as I hate to think about it, doesn’t that just make sense? If you were flying, don’t you think you’d move up and down and back and forth to control your motion?

Yeaton also said the motion appears to help the reptiles cover more distance.

Now that really gets me worried. Is there something we can do to slow them down? I mean, they’re already in Virginia, and that’s too close.

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lward@dailyindependent.com

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