Below are images of the paradise tree snake (Chrysopelea paradisi) taking to the air. This species glides well, and can maneuver in the air.
Upon becoming airborne, the paradise tree snake flattens out from just behind the head to its vent (the multi-purpose opening used for waste ejection and mating, seen here as a small bump at the end where the scale pattern changes). On the bottom surface, the snake's cross-section is mostly flat with a small curve on each side, giving the snake a somewhat concave shape. The flattening doubles the snake's normal width.
This small snake is a good glider. It weighs about the same as four (US) nickels.
The first 'lump' is the heart, and the other small lumps further down the snake are unidentified (likely food items in various stages of digest).
The snake's shape on its top surface is somewhat triangular.
A snake taking off, in Singapore in 2000.
The S-shape, as seen from the side.
Landing on a branch. The front part of the snake has already returned to its normal rounded shape, whereas the rear is still flattened.
About to land.
The rear body and tail. The body is contorted at this point, a consequence of the twisting that takes place during takeoff, which just occurred.
The rear body and tail.
Silhouette of the S-shape just after takeoff, in Singapore.
©19992005 Jake Socha