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This Brazilian Island Is So Deadly That Only A Handful Of People Are Allowed Ashore

Ilha da Queimada Grande

If you set sail from the coastal city of Itanhaem in Brazil and head south, you will come across the small island of Ilha da Queimada Grande. From a distance, it looks unassuming. It is just about 110-acres, and it is uninhabited. From a boat, it looks inviting. The beaches and jungle make it look like a paradise. During the winter, the temperatures reach 66-degrees. During the summer, the average temperature is 82-degrees. These are very comfortable temperatures. Although the island seems like paradise, looks can be deceiving. This Brazilian Island is so deadly that only a handful of people are allowed ashore.

Snake Island

If you were to land on this island and you begin to explore, you will quickly discover that this is a dangerous place. The island has earned the nickname, Snake Island for a reason. In the past, scientists who have landed on the island discovered that there were hundreds of thousands of snakes living there. Today, there are still plenty of snakes on the island, but there aren’t nearly as many as there once were. This is because there is an even more dangerous predator on the island.

The Snakes On the Island

The Dispsas albifrons do not harm humans. They are; however, a lethal enemy of snails because snails are their primary source of food. Besides this snake, there are a couple of thousand golden lancehead vipers on the island. These are very dangerous to humans. In fact, they are one of the most deadly types of the snake on Earth.

Golden Lancehead Vipers

These snakes are members of the Bothrops genus. They got their name from the shape of their head. The snakes on the island; however, are distinguished by the color of their bellies. The snake has 36 sister species around South American, but this specific snake is only found on this island.


These snakes can grow to be a little over two feet long; however, scientists have seen some that are up to four-feet-long. Over time, their tails have evolved, which makes it possible for them to travel in the trees. Since they are on an island surrounded by water, they are doomed to spend their lives there because they cannot swim. Some snakes are perfectly fine in the water, but not the golden lancehead viper. This is good for people on the mainland because the last thing humans need is for these deadly snakes to begin to invade our world.

How Did They Get There?

People believe that pirates brought the snakes to the island so that they could guard their buried treasure against bandits. It is unknown how they kept the snakes from attacking on the trip over. Scientists have a different theory. They believe that the snakes were stranded on the island when the sea level rose. About 11,000-years-ago, the island became cut off from Brazil’s mainland. Because they were isolated on their island home, they evolved over the years to create their own distinctive species.

No Predators

Due to their isolation, the snake has no known predators. Because of this, there are thousands of snakes on the island. There is a chance that the young snakes can fall prey to other creatures; however, once they are full grown, the snakes are entirely safe. Their primary diet is the birds that land on the island while migrating. When it comes to their meals, the snake only feeds on two types of birds, even though there have been 41 species of birds spotted on the island. Their two meals of choice are the southern house wren and the White-crested Elaenia.

The Venom

If a snake bites you, there is a 7 percent chance that you will die. Even with treatment, there is still a 3 percent chance. Even if you don’t die, the venom can cause kidney failure, or your brain can bleed. The venom is so powerful that it can melt your skin. Chemists who tested the venom found that it is five times stronger than that of any other Bothrops snake.

Death On the Island

There are stories about people who have been killed by the snakes on the island. A fisherman who visited the island for bananas didn’t know about the snakes. After being attacked, he made it back to his boat, where he was found dead. Another story happened between 1909 and 1920. There is a lighthouse on the island, and at the time there was a lighthouse keeper. The snakes got into his home and he and his whole family were killed by the snakes. When rescuers came, they killed them too.

Tracking the Snakes

The snakes are tracked regularly by a small group of scientists who visit the island. When they catch one, they measure it and check its weight. Before letting the snake go, they inject a tag into it. They need to take precautions when they visit the island. They wear special clothing and keep a close eye out. Also, the scientists aren’t allowed to go onto the island unless they bring a doctor with them.

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