For a robot, the benefits of having a body like a snake are different than what snakes enjoy for being snakes. A snake can't coil around a pole and then rotate individual segments of its bodies to scale said pole, for instance. A robot snake can do that just, and it's pretty darn creepy (and impressive) to watch.
Stairs, trees, poles — all the same to a robot snake. Even fences pose no problem as a robo-serpent can just slither through the cracks. What's more, a modular, tubular snake-like robot can also swim (the most irksome bit in the video below) and navigate the insides of pipes.
Who do you have to thank for all this? Why, those diabolical roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University, of course.