The 6 wildest snake experiments

How to make the best chemical snakes at home and in a lab

Foam snake

This snake can eas­i­ly leap to ex­tra­or­di­nary heights! But the recipe for this jump­ing cham­pi­on is far from sim­ple: liq­uid soap, food col­or­ing, potas­si­um io­dide, hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide, and a large flask. When hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide and potas­si­um io­dide are mixed, they re­lease oxy­gen and wa­ter va­por, which ag­i­tate the liq­uid soap. The re­sult­ing foam fills the flask and launch­es it­self into the strato­sphere!

Sug­ar snake

You can find al­most all the in­gre­di­ents for this snake in your own kitchen! Sug­ar, bak­ing soda, and a dry ac­cel­er­ant can be found in al­most any home. When urotropine burns, bak­ing soda de­com­pos­es and re­leas­es car­bon diox­ide, which ag­i­tates the byprod­ucts of burn­ing sug­ar (car­bon and some or­gan­ic com­pounds). The snake will rise right out of your ta­ble!

Glu­conate snake

Watch snakes slith­er out of cal­ci­um glu­conate tablets! You just need to put some cal­ci­um glu­conate tablets onto a dry ac­cel­er­ant and set it alight. When heat­ed, cal­ci­um glu­conate de­com­pos­es to cal­ci­um ox­ide, car­bon, steam, and car­bon diox­ide. The steam and car­bon diox­ide make the car­bon and cal­ci­um ox­ide froth, turn­ing them into huge grey “snakes”!

The fol­low­ing “snakes” can even bite! These next ex­per­i­ments should be con­duct­ed fol­low­ing safe­ty pre­cau­tions and un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion, un­der a ven­ti­la­tion hood or in a well-ven­ti­lat­ed area.

Fiery mon­sters

What do you think we’ll get if we cross our “Pharaoh’s Ser­pent” and “Chem­i­cal Vol­cano” ex­per­i­ments? Just mix bichro­mate and am­mo­ni­um ni­trate with urotropine and set the mix­ture alight. A fiery “vol­cano” will erupt be­fore your eyes, and dark-green “snakes” will slith­er out of it! The se­cret to the mix­ture’s “snake­like” be­hav­ior? A large quan­ti­ty of gas plus the hard byprod­ucts of ox­i­da­tion.

Ex­plo­sive snake

Do you like mag­ic? Check out this gar­gan­tu­an foam snake, which bursts out of a cloud of thick yel­low smoke! Heat­ing 4-ni­troani­line and hy­drochlo­ric acid leads to the for­ma­tion of car­bon, hard or­gan­ic byprod­ucts, wa­ter, and car­bon diox­ide and sul­fur diox­ide. The re­ac­tion is so in­tense that the es­cap­ing gas­es al­most in­stan­ta­neous­ly whip the sol­id byprod­ucts of de­com­po­si­tion into a froth of an enor­mous black snake.

Char­coal snake

This is an awe­some and dan­ger­ous ex­per­i­ment that re­sults in an enor­mous char­coal snake! When com­bined with con­cen­trat­ed sul­fu­ric acid, sug­ar de­com­pos­es and be­comes charred. The mix­ture heats up and re­leas­es steam, car­bon diox­ide, and sul­fur diox­ide. These gas­es push the byprod­ucts of the sug­ar’s de­com­po­si­tion out of the cup. These byprod­ucts cool down and hard­en when ex­posed to air. It’s as though the snake froze in the cold!