What would the world look like if more of us got really good at turning fear into possibility? Today we share a prime example of this mindset: flying snakes. They are yet another amazing leap of design by that greatest of engineers, Mother Nature.
Why should we care? Take a look…
By the end of this article we will have (hopefully) turned that fear into wonder, and wonder into possibility!
First, a little background to get us all up to speed:
There are five known species of flying snakes. They belong to the Chrysopelea family and only live in Southeast Asia. And while they are mildly venomous, they are not harmful to humans. 1
So, how do these flying snakes fly? Here is Nature with some of the science behind this remarkable form of flight.
Flying snakes aren’t the only ones to use aerial tactics to avoid becoming dinner. Their habitat is also home to a gliding lizard that avoids becoming the snake’s dinner by using its powers of flight.
So what’s in it for us?
These flying snakes fascinate me because they make me think about all of the potential out there when it comes to how nature can inform the way we engineer and design.
Maybe we won’t ever fly in airplanes that use the same mechanics as these snakes, but there are other ways in which studying nature can help us to innovate. When the right mind stumbles across the mechanics for this type of flight, it might be the missing piece of a puzzle that solves a completely different engineering problem.
Why don’t we use insights from the world around us more often?
In fact, if you scroll to the very bottom of this article, you’ll find some photo tiles that will take you to a few other extraordinary EWC articles that might answer that very question!
Keep in mind that Mother Nature’s successful designs like this have been tested and perfected over 3.4 billion years of evolution on our planet. We could consider that the most thorough and cost effective Research and Development department ever imagined!
Reptiles in flight is a good example. You may know that various designs have come and gone, and we probably have taken inspiration from some of those wondrous experiments already.
Remember the Pterodactyl; the flying dinosaurs that fascinated us all in primary school? Modern glider airplanes fly with similar aerodynamics.
It’s exciting to think about all of the possibility that is out there as we turn to millions of years of evolutionary engineering to solve some of our toughest current problems.
We live in an exciting time for budding scientists, artist, designers, and inventors! Our next great hurdle is to nurture those passions into innovators for the future!
Who knows? Maybe the next big thing might be inspired by an article like this? Share it with a smart, curious kid and you might change everything! That kind of spark of insight is common to the stories of most of the innovators we feature here at Ever Widening Circles!
Stay open, hopeful, and curious!
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To explore more of the amazing creatures that roam the world with us, click the button below!
Or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find a few more incredible articles like this one!
- National Geographic. “Flying Snake.” National Geographic. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 16 June 2016. <http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/flying-snake/>. ↩
- Nature. “NATURE | Moment of Impact Part 2 | Snake Takes Flight | PBS.”YouTube. PBS, 08 Apr. 2010. Web. 15 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtlpfTwzziY>. ↩
- “Flying Snake Hunts Leaping Lizard.” YouTube. National Geographic, 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 June 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPGNbb5Y2a0>. ↩