'Deadliest Place On Earth' Is Island Filled With Thousands Of Snakes Where People Are Banned From Entering

Joe Harker

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'Deadliest Place On Earth' Is Island Filled With Thousands Of Snakes Where People Are Banned From Entering

Featured Image Credit: 60 Minutes Australia/YouTube

It's been dubbed the 'deadliest place on Earth' and considering it's an island infested with thousands of snakes, it's really not hard to see why.

Boasting the beautiful package of sunshine and seasides, the island paradise of Ilha da Queimada Grande might be a prime tourist destination if not for one problem - the thousands of venomous snakes living there.

It's so dangerous that people are banned from setting foot on the island to avoid any step they take on it being their last as a venomous viper lashes out.

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While many snakes are scared of humans and prefer to hide or play dead than lash out, an island infested with thousands of them is not the place to test a snake's limits.

The island's name means 'island of the big forest fire', a reference to an attempt to clear away some of the rainforest to make way for a banana plantation, but it's probably better known as 'Snake Island'.

Nobody lives on the island, leaving it to be infested by thousands of golden lancehead vipers - some of the deadliest snakes in the world.

Their venom can kill a person in less than an hour, so it's really very fortunate that thousands of them are trapped on their own little island where they can't get us.

With no humans to munch on and no ground-based predators, the vipers feed on birds that land on the island, biting them and injecting them with venom.

Snake Island is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers. Credit: Alamy
Snake Island is home to thousands of golden lancehead vipers. Credit: Alamy

According to the Smithsonian, there are plenty of local rumours about various victims who unwittingly stepped foot onto the island only to wind up as prey to the vipers.

One gory rumour suggests the island claimed the life of an unfortunate fisherman who landed there looking for bananas. His body was found days later covered in snake bites.

While it may be the deadliest place on Earth, a few people did live on Snake Island between 1909 and the 1920s to operate a lighthouse which warned ships to stay away.

The place has been officially deserted since the 1920s when the lighthouse was automated, though more rumours claim the last lighthouse keeper's family were killed when snakes slithered in through the windows.

Meanwhile, other tales claim he went to pick bananas after the food ran out and went missing, the snakes picking off members of a rescue party one by one.

These days you're only allowed onto the island via the Brazilian navy or with help from the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation.

The snakes are 'critically endangered', suffering from loss of habitat from people starting fires on the island to try and clear them out while also being targeted by people who take the rare snakes and sell them.

From a distance Snake Island looks like a pleasant spot in the South Atlantic, but it's the deadliest place on Earth. Credit: Alamy
From a distance Snake Island looks like a pleasant spot in the South Atlantic, but it's the deadliest place on Earth. Credit: Alamy

Anyone officially stepping foot onto the island needs to take a doctor with them, as the venomous vipers could be lying in wait around any corner.

Their potent venom can cause kidney failure, intestinal bleeding, brain haemorrhaging and even make your flesh rot away and die.

Even if they get medical treatment quickly, someone bitten by a golden lancehead viper still has a three percent chance of not surviving the venom.

You might be wondering just how thousands of snakes got onto the island in the first place.

While snakes can swim, the golden lancehead vipers who call it home apparently got trapped there at the end of the last ice age as rising ocean levels cut Snake Island off from the mainland.

Frankly, it's reassuring that they're now stuck on an island where people are banned from going. So, it seems the trick to surviving the deadliest place on Earth is to simply not go there.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: News, Animals

Joe Harker
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