Inside One Of The World’s Deadliest Islands Overrun By Venomous Snakes

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 26 Aug 2021 19:08
Inside One Of The World’s Deadliest Islands Overrun By Venomous Snakes60 Minutes Australia

Illha da Queimada Grande is one of the deadliest islands in the world, having been completely overrun by venomous snakes. 

The island is located in Brazil, just south of Sao Paulo, but despite its beauty, it holds a dark secret.


At first, it appears to be a luscious green 110-acre island surrounded with clear water, however if you were to step onto the island, you would be faced with a much darker reality – and even be at risk of losing your life.

The island has been nicknamed ‘Snake Island’ due to being inhabited by countless numbers of golden lancehead pit viper snakes, Daily Star reported.

While lanceheads exist on the mainland, their venom is nowhere near as powerful as the golden species that inhabit the island, with the golden lancehead pit viper’s venom thought to be five times more potent.


Subsequently, if you are bitten by one of the golden variety of the snakes, the chances of survival are pretty slim, particularly as the island is remote and lacks any medical facilities.

The vipers’ slithery occupation of the island is thought to have occurred when sea levels rose, cutting off the island from the mainland and subsequently causing the snakes to adapt to their environment, which saw them multiply rapidly.

It is estimated that at present, there is one golden lancehead viper for every square metre of the island.


Bryan Fry, a molecular biologist, told 60 Minutes Australia that a bite from the golden vipers would lead to a ‘particularly painful death’. Fry, who calls himself the ‘Venom Doc’, said that you would ‘die screaming’ if infected by one of the island’s inhabitants. The news outlet was told about a family who used to live on the island in the lighthouse, who all got bitten by the snakes. They were also told of theories that the snakes had been put there to protect treasure left by pirates.

According to a documentary on the island made by Vice, getting bitten by one of the vipers ‘liquifies your insides’. It reports that everyone is afraid of the island and that no one will set foot there, leaving the island entirely ruled by the deadly snakes. It is estimated by Vice that the island is home to around 3,000 specimens of the snake, which means that it has the highest concentration of snakes in the world.

However, the island does feature an automated lighthouse, which requires maintenance annually. Vice reports that the Brazilian Navy is enlisted to carry out the inspection.


Furthermore, if you want to visit the island yourself, you have to get permission from the Brazilian government and are required to take a doctor with you.

The government tends to only accept requests made by reporters or scientific researchers, however some tourists have decided to take on the challenge.

Tourists have been wise, however, to keep a safe distance from the snakes, choosing to fish, scuba dive or sunbathe from the safety of their boats, sailing the coast rather than stepping foot on the sand.


The island may be beautiful from a distance, but it is one that most would be wise to steer clear of. Post-covid, I can think of better places to jet to, unless you’re wanting to dice with death.

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

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Dad And Stepmum Sentenced For Death Of 6-Year-Old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Topics: Animals, Brazil, Island, Snakes


Daily Star and 2 others
  1. Daily Star

    Inside forbidden snake island – from grisly deaths to deadly vipers at every step

  2. VICE

    Snake Island (Full Length Documentary)

  3. 60 Minutes Australia

    The deadliest place on earth: Snake Island | 60 Minutes Australia