Suspecting that this overview of limbless locomotion might be an oversimplification, the team decided to probe the complex mathematics and mechanics underlying snake slithering in a series of experimental measurements with conscious and unconscious juvenile Pueblan milk snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum campbelli) which were encouraged to slither, slip and slide on slippery and not-so-slippery slopes. (both upwards and downwards).
It was determined that the snakes’ real-world slithering activities
were broadly in line with the team’s mathematical model based around
so-called Froude numbers.
But the mathematically predicted speeds tended be “somewhat lower” than those actually measured – hinting at the possibilities (for future slithering researchers) of yet further refinements to the slithering formulae.
Note: No researchers were harmed during the performance of these experiments.