The Flying tree Snakes of Asia: Chrysopelea paradisi

The image of flying snakes may seem like the stuff of nightmares or a certain part of fiction movie, but in the jungles of South and Southeast Asia it is reality. Flying snakes are a small group of species of tree snakes and they’re able to take to the air by jumping from the tree, flattening the whole body, and gliding or parachuting to the ground or another tree.

There are five recognized species of flying snake, found from western Indonesian archipelago to the India. Knowledge of their behavior in the wild is limited, but they are thought to be highly arboreal, seldom fall from the canopy. The largest grow to 4 feet (1.2 meters) and smallest species reach about 2 feet (61 centimeters) in length.


Scientists don’t know the reason why flying snakes fly and how often or exactly they fly, but it’s likely they use their aerobatics to escape predators, to move from tree to tree without having to plunge to the forest floor, and possibly even to hunt prey.

They prey upon frogs, lizards, bats and birds and hunt only on day time. They are harmless to humans because their venom is only strong enough to immobilize the small prey that snakes eat.

They glide quickly with speeds of 26 feet to 33 feet per second and travel as far as 330 feet through the air. Flying snakes are much like flying squirrels that actually glide through the air rather than fly like normal birds.

flying snakes

They fold their tails around a branch and swing off, flattening their bodies and then launching themselves in the direction of the ground. Once aloft, they undulate their bodies as though gliding through the air, tilting up and keeping their head and the front of their bodies relatively still.

Taking-Flight by flying snakes

Scientist studying these snakes to develop small flying machines that can fly sort distances and save energy like them in more efficient way.

They always fly to evade predators and move from tree to tree so next time you find yourself in a forest in Southeast Asia, watch for the skies!