Flying snakes are mildly venomous, though they are considered harmless because their toxicity is not dangerous to humans. Their range is in Southeast Asia, southernmost China, India, and Sri Lanka. A "flying snake" glides by using its ridge scales along its belly to push against rough bark surface of tree trunks, allowing it to move vertically up a tree. Upon reaching the end of a tree's branch, the snake continues moving until its tail dangles from the branch's end. It then makes a J-shape bend, leans forward to select the level of inclination it wishes to travel to control its flight path, as well as selecting a desired landing area. Once it decides on a destination, it propels itself by thrusting its body up and away from the tree, sucking in its stomach, flaring out its ribs to turn its body in a "pseudo concave wing", all the while making a continual serpentine motion of lateral undulation parallel to the ground to stabilize its direction in midair in order to land safely Flying snakes are able to glide better than flying squirrels and other gliding animals, despite the lack of limbs, wings, or any other wing-like projections, gliding through the forest and jungle it inhabits with the distance being as great as 100 m. Their destination is mostly predicted by ballistics; however, they can exercise some in-flight attitude control by "slithering" in the air.
Their ability to glide has been an object of interest for physicists and the United States Department of Defense in recent years, and studies continue to be made on what other, more subtle, factors contribute to their flight. According to recent research conducted by the University of Chicago, scientists discovered a correlation between size and gliding ability, in which smaller flying snakes were able to glide longer distances horizontally.