Here's the Secret to How Snakes Slither
Scientists have discovered a new reason for how the reptiles effortlessly move their limbless bodies across a range of terrain.
Scientists have found a surprising explanation for snakes’ effortless slithering: A mind-bogglingly thin coat of fatty lubricant embedded on the snakes’ scales.
The findings not only explain the reptiles' eerie slickness, but they also point the way toward new kinds of industrial lubricants and coatings, not to mention improved designs for snake-inspired robots.
“You know at county fairs, when you have the greased pig contest?” says Joe Mendelson, a herpetologist at Zoo Atlanta who wasn’t involved with the study. “These guys just showed that snakes are self-greased pigs.”
As entertaining as the notion of a slippery snake may be, the finding goes a great deal toward explaining how snakes smoothly weave their limbless bodies over terrain. Snakes can climb trees, scurry