Off the shore of Brazil lies an island so frighteningly dangerous that it’s not only uninhabited, but is illegal to visit unless you were to somehow get special permission from the Brazilian Navy. Snake Island is also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande which translates to “the island of the big land-clearing fire”. This refers to events in the 1920’s when banana farmers tried to live there and would routinely burn the brush to keep the snakes away.
So, if you’re making a to-do list for things to do while at Carnival, save yourself the planning. Although the island is only 93 miles away from São Paulo, it’s never been developed nor are there any permanent residents except for the migratory birds that stop off to rest during flight, oh and there’s also the snakes.
Other than snakes, no other creatures inhabit the island. The migrants birds that stop off along their journey are the snake’s main and only prey. The Golden Lancehead is the unique species of pit viper which is found here. It is is quite deadly. These creatures grow to about 18″ in length and possess a venom so strong that it actually melts the flesh around the bite point. There are exaggerated stories about the number of snakes on the island bring as high as 1 to 5 snakes per square yard. Real estimates are between 2,000 and 4,000 of these deadly creatures.
The golden lancehead has no natural predator on the island. Through its evolution, these snakes have learned to hunt birds, climbing high in the treetops and striking with a lethality that’s almost instantaneous for animals. Humans have about a 7% chance of death from a bite, but could suffer kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, hemorrhaging of the brain, or muscle necrosis from the venom.
The outright danger of these snakes is like a magnet to some collectors who will pay up to $30,000 for a healthy specimen. Smugglers sneak onto snake island and risk life and limb to trap the snakes for resale. The Golden Lancehead is an critically endangered species and protected.
If you enjoyed Snake Island – Population Zero, and would like to read more from this author, here are some suggestions.
R.J. Schwartz is the owner and creative force behind The Gypsy Thread website. Use this link to go to the main page and explore articles on the unexplained, witchcraft, pagan history, and to find Full Moon and Pagan Rituals (all of which are free to use).
If you are a fans of poetry, creative writing, short stories, and more, visit the Creative Exiles website at this link. R.J. Schwartz is a writer and also owns the website. If you are a writer looking for a place to get started, contact him.
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