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Castaways and adventurers, beware the terror of Snake Island

If one was lost at sea, coming upon Ilha de Queimada Grande off the coast of Brazil might at first seem like a blessing, but the natives will soon have you wishing you’d been shark bait.

Nicknamed “Snake Island,” the 110-acre island is home to between 2,000 and 4,000 critically endangered Golden Lancehead pit vipers, the bite of which can induce “swelling, local pain, nausea and vomiting, blood blisters, bruising, blood in the vomit and urine, intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, hemorrhage in the brain and severe necrosis of muscular tissue,” but which scientists believe could hold great potential for medicine.

Though the island is heavily guarded by the Brazilian navy, the species faces a number of threats including insane exotic animal collectors, wildfires sweeping their only home and anything that threatens the migratory birds on which they depend for food.

If for some reason this sparks your interest, you should be aware of the horrific tale told locally of the previous lighthouse keeper and his family, the only people allowed to reside permanently on Ilha de Queimada Grande:

Atlas Obscura writes, “One night, a handful of snakes enter through a window and attack the man, his wife, and their three children. In a desperate gambit to escape, they flee towards their boat, but they are bitten by snakes on branches overhead.”

Did we mention they’re eighteen-plus inches long and the skin melts around their bite? Yeah, just don’t go there.

Full story at Treehugger and Atlas Obscura.

Terrifying animals.

Photo credit: Screen shot from ARKive

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  • sanmesh

    well, their venom is mainly Hemotoxic … freakin mess of a bite site … bloody painful, destroys local tissue and breaks down cells