Snakes with legs may sound like nightmare fuel to some, but in fact they did originally have legs that disappeared through evolution. Some snakes do have vestigial legs, which are essentially useless, but serve as proof that snakes used to walk not slither. Snakes retained the gene needed to grow legs, but an enhancer, which controls its activation, keeps it from turning on. Sometimes, the enhancer does turn on for a short period of time during development, resulting in the vestigial limbs found on certain snakes like Pythons, according to National Geographic.
One YouTuber by the name of Allen Pan decided to construct prosthetic legs for snakes so that they could have a chance at walking. He developed a set of four robotic legs designed specifically for snakes, in order to help them experience what their ancestors did.
Making robotic snake legs
Allen Pan set out with a mission to mimic snakes’ long lost legs. He conducted some research on the ways reptiles with legs moved around, and used this information to create the movement pattern for robotic legs. He also wanted to ensure that the snakes would be comfortable using these appendages, so he created a tube, which attached the legs together. That way, the snakes could slither in and out as they pleased.
Pan then visited a snake breeder to test out his creation. They placed a snake at one end of the tube so they could decide to go in themselves, and at first many of them refused to enter all the way through. However, once Pan turned off the prosthetic legs at the start to reduce vibration, which snakes are sensitive to, they felt comfortable to enter. staying in a relaxed position for the ride. While there may not be many practical uses to this endeavor, as Allen Pan demonstrated, it is now possible to walk your pet snake (via Popular Science).
Whether or not you’re a fan of snakes, this technology was can certainly be considered a success in helping the creatures experience the legs of their past.