According to one old man who lived at Penllyne in Glamorgan and died early in the twentieth century, the woods around Penllyne Castle contained many of these extraordinary creatures when he was a boy. They were said to be brilliant in colour, as if spangled with sparkling gemstones, and, like the peacock's train, their wings often bore eyes; some also had rainbow-hued crests.
Yet despite their exquisite appearance, the winged serpents were slaughtered by the local people as if they were merely vermin because they preyed upon the farmer poultry. Indeed, the old's man father and uncle has killed several when he was a youngster. Now, they were apparently extinct. Flying serpents were also reported at Penmark Place, where one elderly woman claimed that there had even been a "king" and "queen" of these winged wonders.
If such serpents really did exist, what could they have been? Millions of year ago, Britain was home of Kuehneosaurus, and elongate lizardlike beast, whose ribs were extended to for a pair of membranous winglike structures that may have enabled it to glide through the air. Today, a similar creature still exist in the humid jungles of Southeast Asia, and is aptly knows as draco volans, or "flying dragon". It is not native in Europe, however, and even if some had escaped from captivity into woodlands of Wales, they would not have survived in its climate.
It has been suggested that brightly colored serpents with feathered wings spied in the Vale of Edeyrnion in 1812 may have been cock pheasants, which were unfamiliar there. But this theory does not explain the serpents' liking for poultry, and it is not likely that a pheasant could be mistaken for a flying snake.
There might once have been proof of their existence, for the Penmark woman stated that her grandfather had killed one of these beasts and kept its feathered skin until, after he died, his relatives discarded it. If they had been eager to do so, science may have been unable to unveil the identity of Wales's winged serpents.