The snake island or Ilha de Queimada Grande is located In the Atlantic ocean, just 20 miles off the the coast of sao paulo Brazil. the snake island is a mysterious island where no one will dare tread. The island is the only home to one of the deadliest snakes in the world, “the golden lancehead” viper ( Bothrops insularis). visiting this island is illegal by law of the Brazilian government.
The island is a subtropical moist forest comprising several types of habitats including rain forest, clearing, and shrubs. The minimum temperature is between 64°F to 72°F, the climate is mild too.
Inhabitants of this island- the golden lancehead viper are often found in shelter among leaves or in rock crevices during unfavorable weather. They also climb trees in hunt of birds. Approximately 2000 to 4000 snakes are on the island, about one snake per Square Foot.
The golden lancehead viper can grow up to an average length of 70cm to 118 cm. It is named for the light yellowish brown colour of it underside and for its pointed head.
The venom of this viper is five times more powerful than that of any other species of viper. A bite from a regular lancedhead viper kills in one hour. but because the golden lancehead inhabit an area where humans are not present, there has never been any record of a bite by one.
Legends told two stories of the origin of the vipers
1. A local legend claims that these vipers were brought into the island by ancient pirates to protect treasure buried in the island
2. Another legend claims that people live on the island until the 1920s, until the lighthouse keeper and his family were killed by the gold lancehead vipers that slither through the window.
In mordern view, the island was believed to be separated from the Brazilian mainland 11,000 years ago when sea levels rose, which forced the native snakes to evolve their potent venom in order to catch airborne prey. The island is devoid of almost any human visitors, but for a few scientists, poachers and the navy on occasion.
DO YOU KNOW?
* The venom of the gold lancehead viper is five times more potent than other snakes and can even melt human flesh.
* At breeding time, they give birth to 2-10 young ones live. The babies are about 23 cm long at birth. Due to interbreeding, some of them are born with both male and female parts and are unable to breed.
* Golden lanceheads are only found on the island of Queimada Grande, off the coast of Brazil. The island is only about 43 hectares.
* Lancehead snakes have an hemotoxicvenom that eats away flesh and tissue to help digest the prey before they swallow it.
The gold lancehead vipers are not alone on the island, another specie- Dipsas albifrons, a non venomous type also on the island.