snake island

Snake Island – 7 Crazy Facts About Snake Island

Snake Island


  • The scientists believe that the poisonous venom of the Golden Lancehead has medical potential in it. The venom is an effective medicine that can be used to treat heart diseases, blood clots and probably even cancer.
  • In the early 20th century, there were attempts to start a banana plantation in the snake island and people attempted to kill the snakes by burning the island. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the snakes survived by hiding themselves in crevices and rocky caves and the plantation ideas were eventually abandoned.
  • Quiemada Grande roughly translates to “the island of the big land-clearing fire” in Portuguese.
  • Scientist frequently visits the island for studies but with the dedication and keen skill of the medical staff on board, there have been no deaths from a snake bite on these expeditions till date.
  • As it is unhabituated, there are no paths of docks on the island.
  • The venom of Golden Lanceheads is 3-5 time potent and fatal.
  • The snakes cannot swim and they are isolated on the island.


Ilha Da Queimada Grande island in Brazil, well renowned as snake island is one among the deadliest in the world where no locals would ever dare tread. The island got its name from the venomous inhabitants of the island, deadliest snakes in the world. The island located around 145 km away from Sao Paulo has got the highest concentration of poisonous snakes anywhere in the whole earth. No, not the normal snakes, the island has some deadly species including the Golden Lancehead, world’s most poisonous viper. Because of the danger awaiting the visit, the Brazilian government has strictly controlled visits to the snake island.

Snake Island


While snake island is unhabituated now, earlier people used to live there for short periods until the late 1920s. The lighthouse on the island is a living testification for a fair amount of human activity that existed on the island long back. But, since the local lighthouse keeper and his family were killed by vipers, people stopped visiting the island. Today the navy team periodically visits the lighthouse to make sure that no adventurers are wandering close to the island.

Researchers estimate that over 4000 snakes live on the island spread over 110 acres with reports showing that you can see one snake every six square yards you traverse. Due to the same reason, Brazil has strictly forbidden visitors for the mutual benefits of people and the snakes. (Golden Lancehead is an endangered species). Along with brazils navy, vetted scientists from Chico Mendes Institute for biodiversity conservation enter the island to monitor the creatures and their habitat.


Earlier, the Island’s land was attached to the mainland of Brazil but with increasing sea levels, the island got separated from the coast. Snakes that were stranded during the scenario multiplied rapidly due to the absence of ground-level predators. Additionally, prey animals were also not there, either. However, the snakes with more poisonous and rapidly-acting venom grabbed migratory birds and their venom grew more potent due to the evolution.

Another local legend claims that snakes were originally introduced by pirates who want to protect buried treasure in the island. But in reality, the presence of snakes and their breeding is the result of rising sea level, but the stories are still interesting.


Any visits to the island must be accompanied by a doctor to tackle the danger posed by the snakes. However, the ban on entry doesn’t stop poachers and wildlife smugglers who illegally visit the snake island to capture the snakes. The snakes are now endangered due to inbreeding, degradation of their environment and diseases. The government has strict entry laws to the snake island mainly to protect these poor vipers, than humans. If there is anything else more powerful and dangerous than the venom of the Golden Lancehead, it is the greed of humans for money. As the endangered Golden Lancehead can fetch around $30,000 in the black market, the number of poachers trying to get to the island is high.

The reason a doctor is required is there is an increased chance of immediate death if no treatment is provided in case of a snake bite. A bite from a Golden Lancehead comes with a 7% percent chance of not surviving and with proper medical treatment, there is a 3% chance of the person surviving. The highly poisonous venom acts fast, cause kidneys to fail, damages muscle tissues and cause problems in brain functioning. The easiest way is to avoid visiting the island and have a full chance of living peacefully.


Off the coast of Brazil near the city called Sao Paulo is the snake island located in the Atlantic Ocean. Being the most dangerous tourist destination in the world is a downside, but the island is absolutely beautiful with breathtakingly gorgeous and picturesque views. The island has a temperate climate with flat rocky cliffs, and craggy mountains and altogether it is a beautiful scene to behold.

snake island

In the current scenario, entering the island legally requires the approval and co-operation of the Brazilian navy. However, any daring tourist can travel to Peruibe located almost 1.5 to 2 hours away from Sap Paulo and convince any local with a boat to take you to the island, but doing so is illegal and dangerous, too. If you still want to see the Golden Lancehead, a safer bet is to see them in captivity. They can be legally seen at the Butanta institute in Sao Paulo or in the Sao Paulo zoo where you can have a have a close encounter with adult lanceheads. You have one more option-visit the Zoológico Municipal Quinzinho de Barros, in Sao Paulo to see a special golden viper that lives in the reptile house there.


Now you know that the snake island is full of snakes. Lots of snakes are one thing but what kind of snakes. That is a real question. Snakes island is not home to ordinary snakes, it is quite popular as the home of the Golden Lancehead pit viper, considered as one of the most dangerous snakes in the earth.

Snake Island

Golden Lancehead

Yes, Ilha da Queimada Grande is the only home to this particular species whose venom is much stronger and capable of melting human flesh. Half a meter long Golden Lancehead got its name from the golden color and shape of its head, elongated head that comes to a point at the nose. This one may not be the longest snake in the world as pythons and cobras are longer, but when you consider the number of them on the island, half a meter is simply enough.

Bothrops Asper, Bothrops Jararaca are some of the other species of snakes seen in the island. A smaller population of Dipsas Albifrons, non-venomous species of snakes is also found in the snake island. These snakes are slender and small to medium in size with alternating rings separated by white, but the coloration and color pattern may vary. Though not very dangerous as Golden Lancehead our poor snail eating buddy Dispas Albifron is a compete Z-lister, too.

Though Golden Lancehead vipers are found on the snake island they are not the only type pf lanceheads in Brazil. There are ordinary lanceheads in Brazil and that accounts for 90% of snake bites in Brazil but the golden versions are found only on the island.


Snakes are not the only species living there. Some small animals and birds are also inhabitants of this island. Then there are birds which migrate to the island and they are the prey as the Golden Lancehead’s diet consists mainly of migrating birds that come to the island for a stop. The snakes hide out in the trees of rainforest for the birds to come.  There are no mammal species at the island and birds nest here at their own risk.


Brazil is a popular holiday destination to escape into the wild, the unique part of nature. It is surrounded by islands that are perfect for a relaxing vacation. As they say, remoter the island, the more peaceful it is. But, not always, especially in brazil’s snake island. The snake island, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful islands in South America is banned by the government as it possesses a threat to human life and the endangered snakes as well. In order to protect their habitat and the snake species, entry is almost impossible though no physical barriers have been set up. Any visit to the island is almost impossible but still, if you want to pave a visit, you need to take permission from the Brazilian navy, and yes, at your own risk!

Even without a ban, the snake island probably won’t be a popular tourist destination, because snakes won’t allow. Let’s put it together, majorly because it is a remote island and no beaches are there where you can drop off and finally, it is packed with deadly snakes that await you at every second step you take. The huge population of highly poisonous snakes makes it impossible for humans to coexist on the same island.

Please feel free to leave a comment below.  Read this: TOP 10 BIGGEST SNAKES IN THE WORLD

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