May 17, 2022 9:59 pm

Queimada Grande and its snakes, the most dangerous place in the world?

Samuel Weller 4 min
The Bothrops insularis is an endemic species of Queimada Grande, and you could not take more than one step without coming across one on this dangerous island.

Queimada Grande is an islet that is located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 35 kilometers from the coast of Peruíbe (Sao Paulo, Brazil). Its size is around 43 hectares, very similar to the extension of the Vatican, although with much less tourism due to the terrifying surprise that this island hides.

From a distance, it looks like a very normal islet. Without long white sand beaches and with steep cliffs, although with enough vegetation in the highest area. But nevertheless, the few adventurers who approach find a sign that warns that it is forbidden to disembark because it is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

The home of a snake with a poison that can be deadly to humans

Queimada Grande is better known as the “island of snakes”, since in it dwells the Bothrops insularis, a viper popularly called “golden lance head”, and that usually reaches 70 centimeters, although it is known that there are specimens that exceed one meter. Its venom is extremely dangerous for humans, causing necrosis, hemorrhage and kidney failure, among other things. In addition, they can crawl up the trunks of trees.

The Bothrops insularis It is an endemic species of Queimada Grande, free of natural predators. Interestingly, those who inhabit the islet are much more dangerous than those found on the mainland, since about 11,000 years ago this islet was separated from land due to the rise in sea level, so they had to evolve to survive, developing a much more powerful poison. Precisely for this, the Bothrops insularis They hunt and feed on large migratory birds.

For every meter you advance, you will see at least one snake

What’s more, it is impossible not to come across them. One study conducted by ecologists from the University of São Paulo points out that more than 2000 snakes live on the island, which would be about 55 snakes per hectare, although there are estimates that indicate that you could find a snake… for every m²!

Increasingly threatened by poachers

Although the Brazilian government has prohibited anyone from entering the island, poachers venture ashore to hunt these specimens, whose market value is around $30,000, without forgetting that its powerful poison is highly coveted by the pharmaceutical industry. This could explain the decline in the snake population that has been observed in recent years.

This snake is highly coveted by poachers, as its market value is around $30,000.

Nowadays It is still very difficult for researchers, explorers and tourists to enter the “snake island”, and also the fishermen feed legends and terrible stories to scare the curious. What is clear is that Queimada Grande is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

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