Category: Weird Articles
Published on Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00
Snake Island is the perfect holiday destination to go to, if you hate being alive that is. Located off the coast of Sao Paolo, Brazil, sits Ilha de Quimada Grande a.k.a Snake Island. The island, roughly 110 acres of trees, is uninhabited. Travel to the island is expressively forbidden by the Brazilian navy for it is home to hundreds of thousands of golden lanceheads.
Golden lanceheads are native to Queimada Grande and it is nearly impossible to find this species anywhere else on Earth. The snake typically grows to be about 70cm long, but its maximum total length is known to reach at least 118cm. Size does not really matter here for this creature. It is its bite that you have to be wary of. Its venom is lethal and extremely poisonous.
Lanceheads (that is, the more common cousins of the golden lancehead) are responsible for 90% of snake bite-related fatalities in Brazil. The mortality rate from a lancehead bite is 7% if the wound goes untreated, and can be as high as 3% even if treatment is given. The effects of its bite include 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.
For Snake Island, the picture is even scarier. The data above does not include bites from the golden lancehead, as there are no official records of a golden lancehead-caused fatality due to the de facto quarantine on their island. A chemical analysis of golden lancehead venom, though, suggests that the snake is much, much more dangerous than its continental cousins: Golden lancehead venom is faster acting and more powerful — perhaps five times more powerful.
Getting close to a snake that is nearly a meter long with such powerful venom is dancing with death. Even the most conservative estimate suggests that the golden lancehead population density on Queimada Grande is one per square meter; others suggest a population as high as five per square meter. Regardless, as Atlas Obscura points out, even at the lower estimate, "you're never more than three feet away from death."