PHOTOS: Snakes on Gel, in Jackets Illuminate Slithering

PHOTOS: Snakes on Gel, in Jackets Illuminate Slithering
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Wide belly scales on snakes, such as this corn snake in an undated photo, snag on uneven ground surfaces, creating friction and enabling the reptiles' movement, according to a June 2009 study.

Like shingles on a roof, the scales are laid out in a way that orients the snake forward and prevents it from sliding backward.

Hu likens the scales' arrangement to cross-country skis or ice skates, in which sliding forward is easier than going sideways.
—Photograph courtesy David Hu
 
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