Imagine an entire island populated solely by snakes and poisonous insects. We present to you Snake Island, also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande. Located off the coast of Brazil, it is about 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the mainland, far enough away that the snakes can’t reach continental South America. Given the snake’s potent venom, many people find this to be a relief.
Welcome To Snake Island
Previously, estimates claimed that up to 400,000 snakes or more lived on the island. You might be wondering why and how so many snakes ended up stuck on this island at the same time.
According to popular belief, this species became trapped on the island after the last ice age ended more than 11,000 years ago. Rising seawater engulfed Snake Island’s land connection to the mainland.
What Kind Of Snakes Are Here?
The number of golden lanceheads on Snake Island is estimated to be between 2,400 and 2,900 snakes, and they are one of the world’s deadliest snakes. This snake is related to the fer-de-lance, the mainland’s most lethal snake.
These snakes are a critically endangered species because they are only found in this one location on Earth. The golden lancehead stands out. The snake is light yellow and light brown, particularly on its underside.
This snake also has the same unusual head shape as the fer-de-lance, which has a long head with a point at the nose resembling a lance’s blade. A golden lancehead venom is hemotoxic. What this means is that it attacks red blood cells, causing a variety of physical problems.
If you are bitten by a golden lancehead, you will experience pain, internal bleeding, muscle necrosis, possible brain hemorrhages, and other symptoms.
Are There Any Risk Going There?
However, because the Brazilian government prohibits visitors from visiting the island, no deaths from bites are recorded in modern records. This snake is not among the most venomous in the world by any means, but it is deadly enough to easily kill humans.
If a person sneaks onto the island and gets bitten, they are likely to suffer from severe health problems. They are, after all, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the nearest anti-venom vial. Even locals fear this place, as they tell stories of people going to the island but never returning.
Would You Dare Trek Snake Island?
Regardless of how dangerous this island is, people are willing to risk their lives to capture a few of these snakes because they are extremely rare and valuable on the black market or are required for scientific research.
The government has granted only a few researchers permission to visit the island. When they do go, they must obtain specific approval and be accompanied by certified doctors. Another threat to their lives is the island’s lack of food resources to sustain such a large population.
In fact, it’s unlikely that there was ever a food source capable of supporting that many snakes in such a small area. In short, Ilha da Queimada Grande does not quite live up to its legends. Nonetheless, it is extremely dangerous and should not be visited by anyone.
Going to the island without permission would not only result in severe legal consequences, but it could also result in death. It is preferable to view the golden lancehead from a great distance away, such as through a computer screen.
Let us know if you will dare visit Snake Island!
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Written by: Ileanwa Obeche, Wed, Mar 01, 2023.