Jan 19

A snake has several methods of moving forward:

Lateral undulation

Waves of muscular contraction and relaxation propagate from front to rear. Each point of the body slides along a single track on the ground without any static contact.

  • efficient way to progress
  • needs wide space
  • does not work on smooth surface
  • movement hindered by great body mass

Concertina progression

Sequential folding and unfolding of the body used differences in static and dynamic friction along different parts of the body.

  • works even in narrow spaces
  • inefficient

Side winding

Continuous alternating waves of lateral bending while maintaining only two contact points to the ground. Thus the body is shifted to the side.

  • relatively efficient
  • useful on soft grounds
  • not in narrow locations

Slide pushing

Quick waves from head to tail propels the body as a reaction to slip friction. The belly scales provide the outcome of a forward movement.

  • works on low friction surfaces
  • very ineffective

Rectilinear motion

Muscles shift the skeleton with respect to the skin. Waves of muscular contraction along the body propels the whole body. Traction to the ground is enabled by belly scales.

  • works with heavy bodies
  • effective

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