Scientists have figured out how tree kites manage to fly through the air

All representatives of the Chrysopelea genus of snakes have an innate ability to move through the air, but only Chrysopelea paradisi or the paradise decorated snake has fully mastered the art of flying. This ability to control their gliding allows them to travel long distances quickly and accurately. Scientists have found that these snakes do not have any additional organs for this, only reflexes of their own bodies honed by evolution.

Jack Socha, a professor at Virginia Polytechnic University, teamed up with colleague Isaac Yeaton to create the first accurate 3D model of the in-flight behavior of the Chrysopelea snake. To do this, they conducted many experiments with more than a hundred individuals, the flights of which were recorded by high-speed cameras. They also used motion capture technology, marking the snakes with special markers, plus they took pictures in the infrared range to analyze the work of the reptile's muscles.

As a result, Socha and Yiton came to the conclusion that at the beginning of the flight, the snake flattens its body, turning it into a kind of flat wing. In flight, she constantly wriggles, in pursuit of two goals. First, it is an easy way to avoid tipping over due to air resistance. Secondly, by wriggling, the snake adjusts the flight range and vertical offset. That is, it actually controls its flight, and not just glides downwind.