For the last 100 million years or so, snakes have been deprived of their ability to walk.

Thanks to a either a quirk of genetics or a punitive God (take your pick), the reptiles have been forced to spend their lives slithering through the dirt.

Not any longer.

Self-confessed snake-loving YouTube engineer Allen Pan decided it was time to do something about it.

‘When any other animal has deformed legs, humanity comes together to spit in God’s face, and we build that animal awesome new cyborg legs,’ Pan tells the camera in a video that has picked up over 2.5 million views.

‘But nobody loves snakes enough to build them robot legs. Nobody except for me. Snake lover: Allen Pan.’

What follows is an adventure that takes Pan initially to a local pet shop to learn how snakes should walk by observing lizards.

He is then able to construct a tube-based housing with four mechanical legs that allow the snake to hop aboard and let the limbs do the hard work.

In order to test his contraption, Pan heads to the home of a local snake breeder to find a reptile happy enough to become the first ever snake with legs.

By the end of the video, one snake in particular seems pretty happy to be taken for a walk.

To date, there has never been any evidence of snakes with four legs appearing in the natural world. Scientists got momentarily excited in 2015 when a promising fossil was discovered, but it turned out to be a lizard.

Still, it’s believed that snakes did once walk upon the land – around 150 million years ago – when genetics decided not to bother with leg development any more.

A study published in 2016 pointed out that some snakes, like pythons, do retain the tiny vestiges of legs as two small bumps on either side of their pelvis. Amusingly, the gene responsible for limb development has been called Sonic hedgehog. Seriously.

When it comes to two legs, a 95-million-year-old fossil appears to show a snake with a robust pair of hind legs. It’s believed this was some kind of ancestor to modern snakes and maybe resembled a Komodo dragon.

How and why snakes lost the ability to walk remains a mystery. It could be that snakes decided to start spending a lot more time in burrows, where having protruding legs could become a disadvantage.

At any rate, if any snakes out there do want to find out what it’s like to walk on land, there’s an enthusiastic YouTuber in Los Angeles happy to help out.

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