Five species of snake from the genus Chrysopelea are considered to be “flying snakes” and they can be found in parts of Southeast Asia, southernmost China, India and Sri Lanka. Ranging in length up to 4 feet, the best “flyer” of the bunch is the Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) which can grow up to 3 feet in length and glide up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Flying snakes are able to flatten their bodies so that in cross section they take on the rough appearance of a Frisbee flying disc. Like the Frisbee, these snakes create an area of high air pressure beneath their bodies that provides lift and extends their glides accordingly. On occasion, these snakes have been seen to “slither” through the air and effect changes in their direction.
There are 44 different species of Flying Squirrel with varieties found in nearly every corner of the globe. Unlike bats, flying squirrels are not true flyers but by adjusting the tautness of their wrist-to-ankle wing flaps, are able to create lift and perform astonishingly accurate aerial maneuverings. The blue-eyed, Red and White Giant Flying Squirrel (Petaurista alborufus, above), native to China and Taiwan, is the largest species of flying squirrel and boasts an exceptionally impressive set of wing flaps
(image via: Eco Wildlife Solutions LLC)
While not quite as aerially proficient as its cartoon representation, Rocky the Flying Squirrel, actual flying squirrels display a remarkable sense of skill and poise when moving through the air. They make affectionate but challenging pets, and are not afraid to display their techniques indoors or out – owners beware. All things considered, these amazing creatures have achieved a level of adeptness in the air that belies their mainly earthbound lifestyles, without sacrificing their natural survival skills… and to that, we should lift our hats.