Watch a snake wearing robot trousers strut like a lizard

Snakes actually have tiny limbs as an embryo. This YouTuber just gave them back.
YouTube screenshot of snake using DIY invention to walk with robot legs
Behold. YouTube

It’s been roughly 150 million years since snakes moseyed around the prehistoric world on legs. Although today’s slithering reptiles actually start out with some limbs while they’re still embryos, their genetic makeup quickly morphs those into… well, two penises, actually. No, seriously.

In any case, living sans legs is certainly one of snakes’ defining characteristics. But YouTuber Allen Pan gave snakes an evolutionary twist in a new video featured by The A.V. Club. After a previous post involving serpents, Pan got to wondering if—and how—one could construct robotic legs for snakes. Check out the full video below for a surprisingly adorable glimpse at our future cyborg snake overlords:

After reminding viewers that plenty of animals receive prosthetic legs from benevolent humans all the time, Pan adds, apparently “nobody loves snakes enough to build them robot legs.” Naturally, what follows is a montage of Pan’s various trial-and-error attempts at constructing the best snake-catered walking device possible. After taking inspiration from everything from three-toed skinks, to the 90’s bionic invertebrate video game character Earthworm Jim, to an absolutely horrifying fish apparently called a sea robin, Pan settled on a set of four remote controlled legs attached to a simple, clear plastic tube cockpit. With some help from a local snake breeder, Pan then set to coaxing a test python into the contraption. The snake genuinely seems pretty pleased with the free ride.

[Related: A new tail accessory propels this robot dog across streams.]

“The snakes want their legs back!” Pan exclaims as his robo-snake crawls across the floor.

What’s particularly impressive about the invention (aside from apparently being very comfortable for the snake) is that the robotic legs actually appear to mimic the gait of four-legged reptiles pretty accurately. It’s the little things, you know?

While it’s understandably unlikely that we’ll ever see an entire horde of snakes propelled by cute, bright orange robot legs, we’ll take what we can get with this one’s welcome reprieve from sliding across cold, rocky ground on its stomach all the time.