Flying Snake, Chrysopelea

The Flying snake (Chrysopelea) ranges throughout Southeast Asia, southern most China, Sri Lanka and India. A member of the Colubridae family, the species inhabits trees in the lowland tropical rainforests.

Most fully grown Flying snakes grow between 3 and 4 feet long. Lacking limbs or wings the snake flattens its body to create a parachute allowing them to glide downwards. The snake uses the bark of trees to get to a higher point than where they wish to travel to. Once it decides on a destination, it propels itself by sucking in its stomach, flaring out its ribs and creating a concave wing. A patterned wave like movement moves the snake forward and smooth gliding ensues.

The Flying snake is extremely aggressive by nature. As most snakes in its family, the Flying snake is opistoglyphous (rear-fanged) and venomous. Humans need not worry; surprisingly the snake runs the highest risk when biting. A human bite may rip out teeth leaving the snake’s mouth open to infection. Its venom is highly effective for killing and paralyzing the small prey it feeds on.

The Flying snake lays eggs making the species oviparous. Breeding typically takes place in summertime and between 6 and 11 eggs are typically laid.

Commonly, the Flying snake feeds during the daytime. Its diet consists of lizards, frogs, birds and bats.

Image Caption: Flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata). Credit: AshLin/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)