Namibian Flying Snake

Flying Reptile of South Africa.

Variant name: Noya a thaba.

Physical description: Length, 9-25 feet. Yellow, black, or brown with light spots. Rumored to change colors like a chameleon. Large head, with a luminous or reflective spot on a caplike structure. May also have a pair of backward-curving horns. Inflated neck. Batlike wings. Wingspan, 30 feet.

Behavior: Hurls itself down hills, making a loud roaring sound. Said to be capable of sustained flight, not only gliding. Smells like tar or "burned brass."

Tracks: Serpentine, showing the marks of scales.

Distribution: Karas Region, Namibia; Drak-ensberg, South Africa.

Significant sightings: In January 1942, Michael Esterhuise was tending sheep near Keetman-

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shoop, Namibia, when he saw a large snake launch itself down a rocky ledge into his flock. He encountered the snake on two later occasions.

Marcus Oarum ran into a snake gliding down the Drakensberg Mountains in 1985. Possible explanations:

(1) Unknown African species of Golden tree snake (Chrysopelea ornata), a colubrid snake of Southeast Asia that jumps from tree to tree by gliding.

(2) Alleged skulls of this flying snake found in 1988 turned out to be the pelvic bones of Ostriches (Struthio camelus).

Sources: Harry Wolhuter, Memories ofa Game-Ranger (Johannesburg: Wild Life Protection Society of South Africa, 1949), pp. 242— 243; Lawrence George Green, These Wonders to Behold (Cape Town, South Africa: Howard Timmins, 1959), pp. 186-189; Roy P. Mackal, Searching for Hidden Animals: An Inquiry into Zoological Mysteries (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), pp. 50-54; "Highlights of Galveston Meeting," ISC Newsletter 10, no. 2 (Summer 1991): 4; In Search of the Giant Flying Snake of Namibia (video) (Johannesburg, South Africa: NNTV, 1995); Karl Shuker, "Flying Snakes," Strange Magazine, no. 17 (Summer 1996): 26-27; Richard Muirhead, "The Flying Snake of Namibia: An Investigation," CFZ Yearbook 1996 (Exeter, England: Centre for Fortean Zoology, 1996), pp. 112-123.

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