Ilha De Queimada Grande (Snake Island)
Where is Snake Island?
Just off the coast of Brazil, there is an uninhabited island called the Ilha da Queimada Grande. It is a beautiful tropical island set in a picturesque location, but no tourist ever wishes to visit it. Why? We will give you a clue! This island has a nickname—Snake Island! Okay, so it is infested with snakes. But, snakes are found in most of the islands in India, Africa, all over Europe, and people still live there. Right? So why are people so afraid of this particular island? What is the reason?
Bothrops Insularis (Golden Lancehead Viper)
Well, there is one poisonous Golden Lancehead pit viper in every square meter of this island. Not just any ordinary snake; a highly venomous species of snakes known as the Golden Lancehead vipers that are matchless ‘killing-machines’.
How dangerous is the Golden Lancehead Viper?
The Golden Lancehead snakes are about 18 inches long and have a big flat head that look somewhat like a spear or a lance. The victims of Golden Lanceheads experience inflammation, local pain, nausea, blood blisters, intestinal bleeding, kidney failure and brain haemorrhage. The bite of these dangerous snakes is so potent that it leads to severe necrosis of human muscular tissue. It slowly and painfully melts your tissues away! Scary!!
The indigenous people once wanted to use the island for growing bananas. But, nobody had the courage to deal with the deadly snakes. Well, you must be wondering why a big South American country like Brazil is not able to handle some snakes cramped on an island. They can just bombard it and get rid of all the snakes, right?
Of course, they can! But, they are not doing so because even this dangerous species of snakes is facing extinction today.
Golden Lanceheads are now regarded as a critically endangered species. And it is important for you to know that the Golden Lanceheads are found nowhere on earth except for the Snake Island hence making them an endemic species.
Why are the Golden Lancehead Vipers heading towards extinction?
Over the years, the population of these snakes declined because of overzealous collectors who captured them for use as science specimens. Many lost their lives to the illegal wild animal trade. They are also threatened from the potential changes from sea level rise. Any day the entire island may be washed out due to increasing sea level owing to continuously increasing global warming. These snakes feed on the migratory birds that come to rest on this island. If there is an unforeseen change in the habits of migrating birds, it would spell doom for these snakes.
So, now you would have understood that if we wipe them out from their only home—the Snake Island, it would be the end of this species on the planet. It wouldn’t be nice of us to do so. Don’t you think?
2 Interesting Facts about Snake Island
- The Snake Island has so many poisonous snakes on it that the Brazilian Navy has it quarantined. Now, no one is allowed to visit this island except some scientists who have special permission and the Brazilian Navy SEALs who maintain a lighthouse there. Hats off to them!
- A scientist once said that if you are on the Snake Island, you are “never more than three feet from death.”
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