No humans are allowed on Snake Island and with good reason. There’s about one deadly snake per square foot on it.About 25 miles off the coast of Brazil, there is an island where no local would ever dare tread. Legend has it that the last fisherman who strayed too close to its shores was found days later adrift in his own boat, lifeless in a pool of blood.
The mysterious island is known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, and it is in fact so dangerous to set foot there that Brazil has made it illegal for anyone to visit. The danger on the island comes in the form of the golden lancehead snakes – a species of pit viper and one of the deadliest serpents in the world.
The lanceheads can grow to be over a foot-and-a-half long and it’s estimated that there are between 2,000 and 4,000 snakes on the island, which unsurprisingly is known as Snake Island. The lanceheads are so venomous that a human bitten by one could be dead within an hour.
The animals that wound up isolated on Queimada Grande evolved differently from those on the mainland over the course of millennia, the golden lanceheads in particular. Since the island vipers had no prey but birds, they evolved to have extra-potent venom so that they could almost immediately kill any bird. Local birds are too savvy to be caught by the many predators that inhabit the island and the snakes instead rely on birds who visit the island to rest as food.