Snake Given Robot Legs to Walk by Inventor: 'Cannot Believe This Works'

A YouTuber has gained millions of views in just a couple of days after he built robot legs to help a snake "walk."

The video, released on August 13, was made by Allen Pan, a content creator who uses engineering know-how to create homemade exoskeletons, battlebots and other inventions that often attract millions of views online.

Pan said the project's purpose was to prove that he is a "snake lover" after he attracted some criticism from a previous video in which he and some friends appeared to capture a wild snake with the alleged purpose of sneaking it past airport security. (The snake ended up escaping before this could be attempted.)

Snake
A content creator's YouTube video shows how he set out to engineer a device that snakes can use to "walk." Above, a python. monicadoallo/Getty

In the new video, Pan said he feels sorry for snakes because "they lost their legs."

It's thought that about 100 million to 150 million years ago, snakes roamed on legs before they evolved to the point where they could survive without them.

The circumstances surrounding this change have been a topic of debate. Some argue that snakes lost their legs to better adapt to water environments; others think being legless would have enabled snakes to move underground more easily, Scientific American reports.

In any case, Pan's video shows how he set out to engineer a device that snakes can use to "walk," with one condition being that the snake must be able to freely enter and exit the device on its own.

The result is a hollow tube with robotic legs attached to servos that can be controlled from a laptop.

Toward the end of the video, Pan visits a snake breeder who agrees to lend a python to try out the machine. The python ends up slithering into the tube, which is then controlled by Pan. The snake itself had no control over the legs.

Throughout, the snake lies with its head sticking out of one end of the tube, apparently content with being transported around on the legs. At the end of the video, Pan stops the legs from moving and the snake slithers out of one end of the tube.

"I cannot get over the image of the snake crawling into its robotic exoskeleton," Pan said. "I cannot believe that this worked!"

As of Monday morning, the video had gained over 1.6 million views on YouTube, while a video clip tweeted by Pan had 13.5 million views on Twitter.

"Stop pitching me your crypto startups," wrote one Twitter user who shared the video. "This is the only kind of tech innovation that interests me."

"Finally, lizards are real," wrote another.