15 Animals You Didn't Know Could Fly

1 year ago
From snakes, spiders and lizards … to squids, primates and marsupials … here are 15 animals you didn’t know could fly

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#5 Mobula Ray (mahb-YOO-luh)
This is another type of flying fish, and it’s a pretty spectacular creature. Mobula Rays look similar to manta rays to which they’re related … but they’re referred to as ‘Flying Rays’ for a good reason. With its disc measuring some 17 feet wide, it’s known to suddenly breach the waters … and show off with a series of twists, high jumps and belly flops. It’s still unknown why they do this. But some experts think it involves communication or escaping predators.

#4 Draco Lizards
Let’s just make clear that this creature has no connection to Draco Malfoy, the character in the Harry Potter books and movies. That’s said, the Draco Lizard is something of a magical beast … it that it appears like a tiny dragon. In fact, they are known as flying dragons, thanks to their possession of what appear to be wings. Those are actually membranes connected to their ribs, which allow them to fly -- or glide, since they’re not really capable of powered flight. But they have been documented of gliding for more than 200 feet, which is a pretty good distance to cover, given the lizards are less than 8 inches long (including the tail). They’re fairly common in the forests of Southeast Asia

#3 Snakes
The slithering reptiles don’t have wings (exactly) … but certain species are known to fly through the air. Ranging from Southeast Asia to China and Sri Lanka, the Flying Snake is more technically a ‘gliding snake’. Using scales along its belly, it manages to climb vertically up a tree until it reaches the end of a branch. Once it maps out a flight path and destination from its vantage point, the snake will thrust its body up and away from the tree … Propelled forward, the snake then controls its flight by using a ‘pseudo-concave wing’ created by flaring out its ribs and pulling in its gut. While making a series of serpentine undulations in midair, it manages to stabilize itself enough to land safely. Overall, experts say there are five known species of flying snakes, ranging in size from 2 feet to about 4 feet long. One, known as the Paradise Tree Snake, is said to be a popular choice as a pet in Europe.

#2 Ballooning Spiders
Spiders can be scary enough when you encounter them on the ground … So how scary would it be to see them flying through the air? Along with certain other invertebrates, the arachnids can employ a method to effectively move from one location to another via airborne express. The spiders will climb to a high point, then release fine silk threads (or gossamer threads), not unlike a parachute. The threads are caught by an updraft of wind … until the creature achieves lift off. The means by which they travel through the air is called ballooning (or kiting) … and it can send them quite a distance. Sailors have reported finding ballooning spiders in their sails nearly 1,000 miles from land … and they’ve been detected at altitudes of 16,000 feet above sea level. The trips are generally much shorter and quite perilous, with a high mortality rate. Those that do survive are thought to use ballooning as a way of invading isolated mountaintops and islands.

#1 Jet Propelled Molluscs
Along with snails, clams, mussels and octopods, squid are classified as mollusks. One thing these creatures are not typically noted for is their ability to fly. But there are several species of squid that prove an exception to that perception. That includes the Pacific Flying Squid (also known as the Japanese Flying Squid). It has been observed using a means of jet propulsion to shoot itself out of the water. By using a muscle called a siphon water is taken in from one side, then squirted out the other … allowing the creature to propel itself, not unlike a jet engine. Using that unique means of aerial locomotion, the squid have been seen flying for around 100 feet (30 meters) above the water’s surface at speeds approaching 25 miles per hour. They can be found in Japanese waters, up the coastlines of China and Russia, and towards the coasts of Alaska and Canada.

15 Animals You Didn't Know Could Fly

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