Who would not know of the 2006 movie "Snakes on a Plane" by director David R. Ellis? It was so popular that online fanbases were formed and became an internet phenomenon. Its writer, David Dalessandro, developed the movie concept after reading a nature magazine article about Indonesian brown snakes climbing onto planes during World War II.

Indeed, many species do some bizarre things that science is slowly exposing them. Unlike the snakes on the movie, which got a chance to fly through the plane, snakes in some South and Southeast Asian nations launch themselves into the air like flying and then glide down at an angle.

These flying snakes like Chrysopelea paradisi undulate their serpentine bodies as they glide through the air, which allows them to make such remarkable flights, according to new research published in the journal Nature Physics.

The researchers put motion-capture tags on seven snakes and filmed them with high-speed cameras as the snakes flew across a giant four-story-high theater. How far they can go depends on the height where they jumped, says Jake Socha at Virginia Tech, who was able to film a snake who started from 30 feet and landed nearly 70 feet away.

How Do Snakes Fly?

According to Socha, snakes flatten out their bodies as they glide through the air while also making wavelike movements. They look as if they are swimming, he says.

He long wondered how undulating could help snakes fly in the air. Snakes do this whether they're on land, in the water, and they also create sideway waves.

A few years ago, someone told Socha of The Cube- a vast theater space that looks like an empty box equipped with high-tech, super-expensive motion capture cameras. Socha and his colleagues prepared the arena by putting foam padding down on the floor and sticking a fake tree to serve as a target for the flying snakes.

They put 11 to 17 bits of reflective tape on the snakes so that Socha and his team could indicate where different parts of the body were in the 3D space. Then the cameras would record up to 180 frames per second to get representations of the snake as it went through its full glide.

The snakes often bounced up the foam on the floor, and nearby snake handlers waited to pick up the animal after it landed. For over two weeks, the researchers filmed dozens of glides and found that the undulation has some distinct features and the S-shaped horizontal movements that are seen.

Read also: Rare Rainbow Snake Spotted For the First Time in 50 Years in a Florida Forest

Flying Snakes Also Move Vertically

"There's a vertical wave. And this was strange. We weren't expecting to see this," says Isaac Yeaton, a mechanical engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Additionally, they also found that the back half of the flying snake's body makes an up-and-down bending motion.

After their experiment, they created a computer model to represent the flying snake. They discovered that without undulation, the snakes' glides became unstable, which will make them plummet or tumble.

"Snakes usually undulate for propulsion - they're using it to push against the environment," Yeaton says. "But flying snakes are undulating for stability."

Read more: Newly Discovered Green Pit Viper Snakes Named After Harry Potter's Salazar Slytherin