If you have no interest in sleeping tonight, we have just the video for you. If you thought snakes couldn’t be more creepy, you thought wrong. Some species can climb trees, made evident in a recent clip that has gone viral on the Internet.
The video, which has since been viewed over two million times, shows a reticulated python hurling its way up a tree. With ease, the serpent coils its muscular body around the tree trunk and spirals itself up the tree as if it’s done this a million times.
According to reports, the snake in the video is a reticulated python, one of the world’s most poisonous snakes. In addition, it’s the world’s longest reptile, growing up to 21.3 feet in length and weighing up to 165 pounds.
How and why snakes climb trees
If you’ve ever climbed a rope in gym class, you probably know it wasn’t that easy. Climbing vertically requires a good amount of upper-body strength and energy. However, for some animals, climbing like this is worth it in the wild. For example, for some snake species, climbing can help them escape predators and also aids them in catching their prey. As it turns out, snakes are an arboreal species and spend much of their lives in trees.
However, how some animals climb trees depends on their physical attributes. For instance, cats hold onto trees with their claws, which helps make climbing easier. Conversely, humans must use muscle strength to keep from falling. In comparison, snakes don’t have arms and legs but use muscular force to climb trees. The muscular power comes from firmly wrapping their bodies around the trunk of a tree.
Greg Byrnes, a herpetologist, once realized that while scientists knew snakes climbed trees, no one knew exactly how much force the snakes needed to exert. As a result, Byrnes wanted to determine how much power they used.
According to National Geographic, Byrnes found that all five species of climbing snakes used more force than was necessary to keep their bodies from falling.
Byrnes believes their superhuman grip helps the snake decrease its chances of plummeting. According to Byrnes, falling is less about physical harm and more about vulnerability to predators.
“A ten-meter fall is unlikely to really hurt a snake, but being back on the ground could expose them to predators. Then the snake will have to climb the tree again, and it might be more energy efficient to be more careful the first time,” Byrnes said.
Byrnes also believes tactics to keep from falling are necessary if you want to survive in the animal kingdom. So the next time your arms start shaking when you find yourself climbing a rope in gym class, remember that you’re fighting the evolutionary battle to keep away from predators.