Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Golden Tree Snake

Chrysopelea ornata
The Golden Tree Snake is a member of the Chrysopelea genus, which includes five Southeast Asian dwelling species of "Flying Snake." Yes. Flying Snake.

Golden Tree Snakes (and their cousins) have the ability to flatten their ribs, suck in their guts, propel themselves off trees, and glide through the air while undulating their bodies in S-shaped motions. Their gliding motions are unlike the methods used by other gliding critters, like Flying Squirrels, which use symmetrical skin flaps to keep up in the air. The interesting motions made by the snakes have been the subject of countless studies on aerodynamics.

Like all snakes, Golden Tree Snakes are carnivores. They diurnally feed on other snakes, lizards, geckos, and even bird eggs. They aren't particularly large snakes (which is good, because some studies have shown that the larger snakes don't glide as easy), but they can be incredibly aggressive when handled.  Golden Tree Snakes are venomous, but it is not dangerous to humans.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Southeast Asia
Size : Length up to 40in (101cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Squamata
Family : Colubridae -- Genus : Chrysopelea -- Species : C. ornata

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