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Sakes Alive! Snakes That Fly!

Snakes that fly. And the Pentagon wants to study them.

Need we say more to get you interested?

Virginia Tech researcher Jake Socha spoke with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly this afternoon about the work he's doing to figure out how some Asian snakes can glide long distances -- and the Defense Department's interest in the subject.

Basically, Socha says, the snakes can turn themselves "from a cylinder into something that glides." That's of interest to him and the military because it might help scientists figure out how to design smaller aircraft. Here's some of what he had to say:

Much more from Mary Louise's conversation with Socha will be on today's edition of All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, we'll add the as-aired version of their discussion to this post.

Meanwhile, here's a National Geographic video report that shows the snakes in action. Our apologies for the ad that comes with it:

And just for fun (because we know many of you were thinking about it) here's a classic clip about another sort of flying snake:

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.