The island is home to over 4,000 venomous serpents that are so deadly, its venom is up to 5x’s stronger than any mainland snake and can melt human flesh.
What snake is it?
It is the Golden lancehead and did you know it is responsible for 90% of all snakebite related deaths in Brazil. You may be wondering how such a small island became so populated with so many venomous snakes.
Well about 11,000 years ago the island was once attached to the mainland, that was until the sea levels began to rise separating it from the coast. Since then it has been known as Ilha da Queimada Grande.
With very few predators around, the snakes on the island were able to quickly multiply and continuously evolve, leading to them having the super venom they have today.
Only scientists allowed on the island
No human is allowed to visit, with the exception of a few scientists given permission to study the snakes and the Brazilian Navy who now takes care of a lighthouse that was built there in 1909. Legend has it that a family that operated the lighthouse at one time was killed by the venomous vipers on the island. According to the legend, the family was asleep when snakes entered a window and attacked them. As they attempted to reach their boat to escape the island, they were bitten by snakes hanging from branches overhead. Sounds like something out of a horror movie right?
But it sounds possible, there are so many snakes in such a small area. Marcelo Duarte , one biologist who has been given permission to visit the island on 20 different occasions, estimates there is at least one snake per square meter, which means you’re never more than 3 feet away from death.