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This Terrifying Brazilian Island Has the Highest Concentration of Venomous Snakes Anywhere in the World | Science

University of Sao Paulo researcher Marcio Martins holds one snake while watching another, a deadly venomous snake living only on Queimada Grande Island, Atlantic Forest, Brazil.
© Mark Moffett/Minden Pictures/Corbis

From Iguazu Falls to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, there are some breathtakingly beautiful places in Brazil. Ilha da Queimada Grande, located about 90 miles off the São Paulo coast, seems like another one of those beautiful places—at first glance. Almost every Brazilian knows about the island, but most would never dream of going there—it’s infested with between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead vipers, one of the deadliest snakes in the entire world.

These vipers’ venom can kill a person in under an hour, and numerous local legends tell of the horrible fates that awaited those who wandered onto the shores of «Snake Island. » Rumor has it a hapless fisherman landed onto the island in search of bananas—only to be discovered days later in his boat, dead in a pool of blood, with snake bites on his body. From 1909 to the 1920s, a few people did live on the island, in order to run its lighthouse. But according to another local tale, the last lighthouse keeper, along with his entire family, died when a cadre of snakes slithered into his home through the windows.

Although some claim the snakes were put on the island by pirates hoping to protect their gold, in reality, the island’s dense population of snakes evolved over thousands of years—without human intervention. Around 11,000 years ago, sea levels rose enough to isolate Ilha da Queimada Grande from mainland Brazil, causing the species of snakes that lived on the island—thought to most likely be jararaca snakes—to evolve on a different path than their mainland brethren.

The snakes that ended up stranded on Ilha da Queimada Grande had no ground level predators, allowing them to reproduce rapidly.  Their only challenge: they also had no ground level prey. To find food, the snakes slithered upward, preying on migratory birds that visit the island seasonally​ during long flights. Often, snakes stalk their prey, bite and wait for the venom to do its work before tracking the prey down again. But the golden lancehead vipers can’t track the birds they bite—so instead they evolved incredibly potent and efficient venom, three to five times stronger than any mainland snake’s—capable of killing most prey (and melting human flesh) almost instantly. 

Ilha Queimada Grande

Prefeitura Municipal Itanhaém

Because of the danger, the Brazilian government strictly controls visits to Ilha da Queimada Grande. Even without a government ban, though, Ilha da Queimada Grande probably wouldn’t be a top tourist destination: the snakes on the island exist in such a high concentration that some estimates claim that there’s one snake for every square meter in some spots. A bite from a golden lancehead carries a seven percent chance of death, and even with treatment, victims still have have a three percent chance of dying. The snake’s venom can cause kidney failure, necrosis of muscular tissue, brain hemorrhaging and intestinal bleeding.

The Brazilian government requires that a doctor be present on any legally sanctioned visits, in the event of an unfortunate run-in with the island’s native population. The Brazilian navy does make an annual stop on the island for maintenance of the lighthouse, which, since the 1920s, has been automated. The island is also an important laboratory for biologists and researchers, who are granted special permission to visit the island in order to study the golden lanceheads.

Ninety percent of snake bites in Brazil come from lancehead snakes, a close cousin of the golden lancehead. (Both are members of the Bothrop genus.) Biologists hope that by better understanding the golden lancehead and its evolution they can better understand the Bothrop genus as a whole—and more effectively treat the numerous snake-related accidents that occur throughout Brazil. Some scientists also think that snake venom could be a useful tool in pharmaceuticals. In an interview with Vice, Marcelo Duarte, a scientist with the Brazilian Butantan Institute, which studies venomous reptiles for pharmaceutical purposes, described the medical potential of the golden lancehead. «We are just scratching this universe of possibilities of venoms,» he said, explaining that the golden lancehead’s venom has already shown promise in helping with heart disease, circulation and blood clots. Snake venom from other species has also shown potential as an anti-cancer drug.

Because of black market demand by scientists and animal collectors, wildlife smugglers, known as biopirates, have been known to visit Ilha da Queimada Grande, too. They trap the snakes and sell them through illegal channels—a single golden lanceheads can go for anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Habitat degradation (from removal of vegetation by the Brazilian navy) and disease have also damaged the island’s population, which has dwindled by nearly 50 percent in the last 15 years, by some estimates.  The snake is currently listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. While that might make Snake Island slightly less terrifying for humans, it’s not a great deal for the snakes.

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90,000 the smallest snakes of our planet: photo and description


  1. Ordinary dipera berus
  2. Sand Efa / Echis Carinatus
  3. Sand -shaped stray / eryx miliaris
  4. Steppe dipli
  5. Smir Eideres /
  6. Common snake / Coronella austriaca
  7. Japanese snake / Amphiesma vibakari
  8. Common snake / Naririx natrix
  9. Cross-striped wolftooth / Lycodon striatus

    The smallest snakes in the world:


    Vipera berus

    Perhaps the only snake on the planet found beyond the Arctic Circle.

    It grows up to 65 cm, only in Scandinavia individuals were found, the size of which reached 90 cm. The head is separated from the body by a narrow cervical interception, which makes it possible to easily identify this type of viper.

    They are long-lived in the family of crawling scaled reptiles, able to live up to 30 years. The poison contained in the glands is quite toxic. Getting bitten into the human body, the poison causes swelling, severe inflammation, but rarely leads to death.


    Echis carinatus

    The photo shows a beautiful but dangerous inhabitant of deserts and river cliffs, the poison of which can cause significant harm to human health.

    Hunts frogs, lizards, small birds, but the main diet is small rodents. It moves in a kind of lateral course, leaving bizarre stripes on the sand. When meeting with a person or a large animal, it makes rustling sounds.

    Adults do not grow more than 70 cm, and the average length of the efa is 50–60 cm. These are viviparous snakes. The female bears and gives birth to up to 15 cubs per season.

    Don’t miss the fascinating article on our site about the biggest snakes in the world.


    Sand boa / Eryx miliaris

    The representative of the false-legged family has chosen for the life of the desert and semi-desert of the countries of Central Asia, the southern regions of Russia. It is found in the steppes of Mongolia, in Iran and Afghanistan.

    Females reach a length of 80 cm, and males only 60 cm. Despite its small size, it, like all boas, has a muscular massive body. It allows him to cope with rodents, turtles, small birds and lizards, which make up the main diet of the sandboa.

    They are non-poisonous and cannot kill humans, so they are often kept in apartments and houses as pets.


    Steppe viper / Vipera ursinii

    The distribution area of ​​this viper species is very wide. They are found from the southern regions of Europe to the southern Urals. In Crimea, they live not only in the steppe regions, but also in forests and rocky slopes.

    Due to the characteristic color of alternating white and dark spots on the Kerch Peninsula, they are called chess. They grow no more than 60 cm. The species is under the protection of the Berne Convention, as endangered.

    The bite is not fatal, but causes a sharp headache, the bite site turns red, and sometimes there is a strong swelling. Poison is used to make medicines.

    By the way, on thebiggest you can find out about many beautiful animals that are on the verge of extinction.


    Eirenis modestus

    A snake with an unusual species name lives on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea, in the countries of the Middle East and Central Asia. In length no more than 60 cm.

    Beige, light brown and gray body colors occur. The belly and tail are slightly lighter than the back. In young individuals, a spot in the form of the letter “M” is clearly visible on the head. Over time, the speck disappears, acquiring body color.

    Hunts at night and prefers to hide under rocks during the day. But sometimes you can see how eirenis basks in the sun during the day. Zoologists distinguish three subspecies, differing in size and color.


    Coronella austriaca

    The genus of copperheads includes only 3 species, and the smallest is the common copperhead. It grows throughout its life, like most snakes, but does not grow more than 60-70 cm.

    Males are slightly smaller than females, but both have a short tail and a small head. You can recognize it by the characteristic dark stripe stretching between the eyes. There are several rows of transverse spots on the body.

    Depending on the habitat, there are different colors. Copperhead is diurnal, preying on mice, lizards and other small vertebrates.


    Japanese snake / Amphiesma vibakari

    The non-venomous snake is the smallest reptile that lives on the Japanese islands. The total length of the Japanese snake does not exceed 50 cm. The coma of the islands of Japan lives in the Far Eastern regions of Russia, China and Korea.

    They have a magnificent brown color with a bright olive tint. There are no patterns on the whole body, and the belly is slightly lighter than the back. They belong to a large genus of forest snakes. They hunt amphibians and insects.

    Quite rare. It is difficult to find them, as they already lead a secretive lifestyle. They hide under fallen leaves or in the grass, they are excellent swimmers. It may bite when defending itself, but it is a non-venomous snake.


    Common snake / Naririx natrix

    The most common type of already-shaped, which is found in the European part of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and countries of Eastern and Southern Europe.

    Adult females and males average 50–60 cm in length. You can recognize them by the characteristic orange spots on their heads. And so, in terms of their general color, you can easily walk with representatives of the genus of vipers. Although the color of snakes is quite diverse, and depends on the habitat.

    They prefer to settle near bodies of water, along the banks of rivers. Like all already shaped ones, they perfectly overcome water obstacles by swimming. They hunt frogs, hedgehogs. They can easily swallow prey much larger than themselves.


    Striped wolftooth / Lycodon striatus

    A striped small snake lives in Nepal and India, and adults do not grow more than 45 cm. Belongs to the family alreadyiformes.

    They got their unusual name from their characteristic long fangs. When bitten, they leave sharp wounds on the body of the victim. They are not poisonous and do not pose a danger to humans. But after a bite, the wound should be treated so that infection does not start.

    Wolftooth has an unusual color. On the dark body there are transverse light stripes. The closest related species lives in Thailand, and is not much ahead in size. The Thai wolftooth reaches a length of 50 cm. Its length does not exceed 40 cm.

    It has a very small head and thin body. These asps have a rather bright color. Throughout the body, red, yellow and black transverse rings alternate. It feeds on amphibian rodents and destroys bird nests.

    At the moment of danger, he takes in air and emits frequently alternating pops. The desert dweller is very poisonous, and therefore it is better to bypass it when meeting.

    By the way, our website has an interesting article about the most dangerous snakes in the world.


    Common blind snake / Typhlops vermicularis

    Because of its resemblance to worms, this inhabitant of the rocky slopes of Europe and Asia is also called the worm-like blind snake. Adults grow up to 38 cm. Females are slightly larger than males.

    The muzzle is slightly flattened and extended forward. The eyes are practically invisible, as they are hidden by shields. There are just two dark spots on the head. This blind snake has smooth, shiny scales arranged in 22–24 rows.

    Hiding under rocks. And on melons they equip minks under melons and watermelons. When detected, they try to immediately hide underground. They feed on ants and other small insects.


    Calamaria linnaei

    A species of dwarf snake that lives on the island of Java, as well as the Philippine and Sunda Islands. You can also meet a snake named after a famous scientist in some countries of Southeast Asia.

    The length does not exceed 33 cm, and the whole body is of the same thickness and of the same color. Thus, nature has taken care that a harmless little creature can be saved from its many natural enemies.

    Calamaria hunt for worms and insects. They lead a secretive lifestyle, excellently breaking through passages in the ground. They are non-toxic, and therefore do not pose a danger to humans.


    African pygmy viper / Bitis peringueyi

    A poisonous pygmy viper lives in the expanses of Africa, the size of which does not exceed 20–25 cm. However, specimens 32 cm long were caught.

    It is distinguished by its wide flat head and characteristic coloring. It perfectly disguises itself in the color of the sands in which it lives. On hot days, it hides in the shade of bushes, burrowing into the sand. Only the nostrils and eyes and the tip of the tail remain on the surface.

    Burrows into the sand with vibrating movements. This viper also has a peculiar lateral course. Where she crawls, bizarre patterns remain on the sand.
    Hunts lizards. When captured, it releases a huge amount of poison that instantly kills the victim. The poison is not fatal to humans.


    Ramphotyphlops braminus

    The miniature mole rat is also called the pot snake because it likes to settle in flower pots. So in tropical countries you have to be careful, because you can buy a pot of flowers with snakes. Dimensions allow, because adults of this species do not grow more than 12 cm.

    Like earthworms, they are excellent diggers. The structure also resembles an earthworm. It belongs to a large family of blind snakes or, as science also calls them, blind snakes.

    In nature, a kind of symbiosis of owls and mole rats takes place. The big bird brings the snake to the nest to feed the chicks. But the chicks can’t handle the shell. The snake settles in the nest, catching insects. In such owl nests it is very clean. At home, they can be kept in pots filled with earth, without any terrarium.


    Barbadian Snake / Tetracheilostoma carlae

    The leader of our ranking on thebiggest is a harmless little snake that lives on the island of Barbados. They grow no more than 10 cm in length. The specific name was given because of the special structure of the mouth.

    It feeds on termites and is excellent at catching crawling and flying small insects. Lives in forests, hiding under stones, buries itself in piles of fallen leaves. Due to its small size, it is very difficult to see it.

    Discovered by Blair Hedge, an American. In 2008, while visiting the island, he picked up a stone, under which there were several small snakes. It turned out that this is a new species, previously unknown to science. He named them after his wife Carla Leptotyphlops Carlae. But the second name has taken root in the world.


    Conclusion the most talented creators who created such diverse species, dissimilar species even in one family. TheBiggest is waiting for your interesting comments on this article. What are the smallest snakes you have met in your life?

    Snakes in Bali. How to behave if you saw a snake and were left alone with it? Where to go if bitten by a snake in Bali. Snake bite, first aid. › Indotravelteam

    October 17, 2019

    How to behave if you see a snake and are left alone with it? Where to go if bitten by a snake in Bali. Snake bite, first aid. Specifically about dangerous poisonous snakes:

    Kraits (Bungarus)

    PH http://commonpoll. com

    Kraits are deadly poisonous snakes. The peculiarity of this snake is that it is found both on land and in water. Ground kraits hunt at night and can easily crawl into a house after dark. You can recognize such a snake by coloring like a zebra.

    Black (sometimes blue) and white stripes alternate along the entire length of its body. In Bali, you can find varieties of kraits with black-blue and gray colors. In length, kraits reach 1 meter in length.

    If you are bitten by a krait, you should immediately go to the hospital

    Cobras (Naja)


    Cobras come in a variety of colors from black and brown to pale grey. Usually, cobras do not attack humans unless provoked.

    Depending on the species, a cobra can spit out venom up to a distance of two meters, and then bite again. The bite of a cobra is extremely poisonous and dangerous, you need to immediately go to the hospital.

    Iron snakes (Manicora)


    The snake has an unusual color. She has a black and blue back and light blue flanks with white stripes on each side, and her head, belly and tail are reddish or orange.

    The snake loves damp areas overgrown with bushes and trees. Most often, a glandular snake can be found lying motionless on the ground. After a bite, you must immediately go to the hospital.

    Russell’s viper (Vipera)


    Russell’s viper is pale greyish brown with many dark brown oval spots along the back.

    It is one of the most dangerous snakes in all of Asia.

    After a bite, a person experiences a wide range of symptoms, including pain, swelling, vomiting, and dizziness. You must immediately go to the hospital.

    Keffiy (Trimeresurus)


    White-lipped kufii have a uniform bright green color on the back. The belly can be white, yellow or pale green. They can often be found near human settlements. They prefer to stay close to the water.

    This snake is venomous and should be bitten by a doctor immediately.

    Taipans (Oxiuranus)


    Due to its aggressive disposition, large size and speed, the taipan is considered the most dangerous of all poisonous snakes in the world.

    Very often taipans themselves attack a person who approaches them. Before the bite, the snake, as it were, warns the person about its intention to bite him. To do this, the snake curls up into several rings, raises its head high above the ground.

    After a bite, go to the hospital immediately.

    Black snakes (Pseudechis)


    It lives in moderately humid lowlands and along river valleys, willingly comes into contact with water, dives and swims well. He likes to swim in the daytime, when the water in the reservoirs warms up well.

    She will attack only if they try to catch her, step on her or show open aggression.

    After a bite, go to the hospital immediately.

    What should you do if you see a snake?

    Snakes attack when they feel threatened. They just won’t attack. But they react to movement, if you start to panic and move, the snake will attack.

    What should be done?

    • Freeze and loudly call for help (snakes do not hear sounds).
    • Try to avoid the snake.
    • It is not necessary to block the snake’s retreat — it will regard this as a danger and attack.
    • If the snake did not crawl away, but took a threatening pose, then you need to slowly step back, without making sudden movements.
    • Do not put your hands forward for protection or turn your back to the reptile.

    What to do if you are still bitten by a snake?

    In the event of a bite, see a doctor as soon as possible in order to receive the necessary assistance. (it’s good to remember what the bitten snake looked like to explain to the doctor)

    If transport to the hospital takes some time, provide home care to the victim:

    1. Remain calm and make sure that the casualty does not move.
    2. Remove clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. from affected body part.
    3. Cover the bite with a sterile antiseptic dressing.
    4. Give the victim water — if bitten by a snake, it is important to drink plenty of water.
    5. If a first aid kit is available, give the victim 1-2 allergy medicine tablets.
    6. When transporting, place the affected limb on a raised platform.
    7. If possible, apply cloth-wrapped ice to the wound.

    What not to do if you are bitten by a snake:

    • do not try to treat the wound additionally;
    • do not cauterize the wound;
    • do not put the tourniquet;
    • do not suck out the poison: this increases the chance of infection, and the person who has the poison in his mouth is also at risk.
    • Do not drink alcohol.

    If you are in Bali and find a snake in your house, we advise you to contact serpentologist Ron. Ron will be able to advise you and catch the snake.

    Ron’s contacts:
    +62 813 3849 6700 |
    [email protected] |

    Bali snake antivenom hospitals:
    — Denpasar Sanglah Hospital: Jalan Kesehatan Selatan No. 1 Sanglah Dauh Puri Klod, Denpasar Barat +62 361 232603
    — Ubud Hospital — Bali Reptile Park Ginayar 0361-299344 or Tabanan: 0361-829353.

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