Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.


The Pendulum Snake or Liana Snake of Chiang Rai is an animal seen by millions of people each year, yet few of them know of its existence. The reason is not camouflage, but is more to do with boldness on the part of the snake.

The Liana Snake is a dull brown colour and can vary in length from 6 to 10 feet depending on its age. The snake is approximately 6 inches in circumference. The snake’s hunting method is very straightforward. It selects a tree where liana vines are hanging down and then wraps its tail around a branch and hangs down amongst the vines. If the vines move in the wind, the snake makes sure it moves with them. This is how the snake received the nickname ‘Pendulum Snake’.

When the snake sees a small rodent it will drop from the tree and bite the animal before eating it and resuming its position hanging from the tree. For larger animals such as monkeys, the snake will fall on to the prey and constrict the creature before dragging the animal away.

Pendulum Snakes show enormous patience, sometimes hanging upside down for twelve hours before either giving up or catching their ideal prey. If people are walking through the forest and brushing the lianas out of the way as they go, the snake will stiffen its sinews, close its eyes, and appear to the touch to be a piece of vine. Birds have mistaken the snake for a vine and used them as a perch. The snake doesn’t mind as this all adds to the effect.