This insane island filled with nothing but snakes is located approximately 90 miles from the coast of Sao Paulo. It is one of the most deadly islands in the world. It is known for its high number of golden lancehead vipers.
Some studies have reported an average of one to five snakes to every square meter. The snakes that had been separated from the mainland by rising sea levels 11,000 years ago became hyper-evolved and terrifying to adapt to this new environment.
The island was without any ground-level prey; the snakes had to learn to hunt from the trees and strike at birds from the air. Suprisingly even the venom became several times stronger due to vast circumstances.
Capable of killing their prey instantly, as well as melting human flesh. The island can not be reached legally due to its potency.
Ophidiophobia is an abnormal fear of snakes. This article could make your skin crawl but we suppose it’s already too late for this disclaimer.
Even if your fear of snakes isn’t severe, you shouldn’t visit this island in Brazil. In Portuguese, Snake Island (or Ilha de Queimada Grande) is less than 100 km from Sao Paulo.
The golden lancehead viper is a deadly snake that lives on the island. This is the island home to an estimated 4,000 lancehead vipers.
Folklore surrounds how the snakes got to the island. There is a story about pirates dropping snakes there to protect their gold. But these stories are only local legends. According to Smithsonian, the island became the dangerously snake-inhabited area it was today about 11,000 years ago.
“The sea levels rose enough that Ilha da Queimada Grande was isolated from mainland Brazil. This caused the snakes living on the island, most likely jararaca snakes, to follow a different path to their mainland brethren.
The island was left undeveloped by humans, and the snake population has become wild. Because there are no predators on the island, the snakes reproduce quickly and easily. On the island, one to five snakes are found per square foot.
An Atlas Obscura article cited Marcelo Duarte (a biologist who has been to the island more than 20 times). He was told by locals that there could be up to five snakes per square mile. The population is likely higher at the lower end of this range, with one snake per fair meter average.
However, they are still dangerous. Atlas Obscura says that you are never more than three feet from death.
Dangers of the Venom
Perhaps you are curious about how deadly these snakes are. Smithsonian reports that the lancehead viper evolved venom three to five times stronger than any other mainland snake. It can kill most prey and melt human flesh almost instantly.
According to Snake Island, Smithsonian, ninety percent of snake bites in Brazil originate from lanceheads. In less than one hour, the venom of any of these snakes may kill anyone.
One of two terrible stories of death on the Island involved a fisherman.
Atlas Obscura states that a fisherman wanders unintentionally onto an island in search of bananas. He is then bitten. He eventually returns to his boat and succumbs quickly to the snake’s poison. He is later found in a large pool of blood on the boat deck.
Are There any Humans on the Island?
Snake Island is probably not on your list of places you would like to visit. You might have wondered who would stay. However, the Brazilian government has control over who can travel to the snake-covered Ilha da Queimada Grande.
The island is usually restricted to scientists. A doctor should accompany any visitors in the event of a potentially fatal encounter with the island’s indigenous population.
Duarte said in an interview that vice told him, “We are just scratching the surface” and that while snakes are scary but venom has been shown to be able to help with circulation, heart disease, and blood clots.
We can’t stress this enough, I would rather go to the most extreme haunted houses in Ohio, than this cursed island.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the lancehead viper is now considered critically endangered. This is due to the destruction of habitat on the island.
Although it may sound like a great idea, removing snakes will eliminate human threats and allow for more land. Others have also thought of this idea.
According to Snake facts, “In past times, fires were intentionally started on the island to eliminate snakes and make it suitable for agriculture.”
Snake Facts continues: “To preserve the lighthouse on the Island, the Brazilian Navy also contributed habitat destruction through the removal of vegetation.” Scientists also over-harvest the species.
Because Ilha da Queimada Grande is such a small area and the only place these snakes can live in the wild nature, only a minimal population can thrive. Inbreeding has led to snakes being born with both female and male parts. This causes sterile snakes and makes it difficult for the species to repopulate healthfully.
Snake Island is visited by scientists under the auspices of the Brazilian government. However, wildlife smugglers also visit the island to capture rare snakes and then sell them illegally.
A golden lancehead viper may sell for anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000
Are you still frightened? There are still beautiful and safe islands you can visit off the coast of Brazil.