The island which is also known as “iiha de queimada” is infested with one of the world’s most deadly snakes -the Golden Lance Head Viper.
Its venom is 5 times more potent than any other snake in the world. One bite can cause the human flesh to melt right down to the bone. They hang mostly on the trees and are almost invisible behind dry leaves. They take out birds’ right from the sky.
In A weird twist, the snakes are the only wild animals that have called the Island home- picture over 3000 snakes and smaller rodents like worms and roaches- no tigers, lions, nothing else (maybe the snakes ate them all).
According to Brazilian Journalist Angela Rodrigues Alves who has visited the Island several times, there are snakes in every square meter- “you have to look ten times before you walk and a hundred times where you put your hands”
The Brazilian government has declared the island off limits – But that does not stop the poachers.
Like why would anyone want to steal such a dangerous snake you may wonder?
Bio pirates or animal smugglers capture the snakes and sell them for a hefty price tag of about 15,000- 30,000 dollars. A lot of buyers are willing to pay the cold hard cash
Some of the buyers are those crazy enough to keep them as pets or Pharmaceutical companies that need their venom to produce an anti-venom. But some visit the island for gold, treasures and other valuable artifacts buried within.
Legally permitted visitors to the Island are the Brazilian navy and bio researchers
The Brazilian navy goes there once a year to maintain the light house. They also have special training on how to be careful
Because of these pirates, the government is fighting to preserve endangered species (I wonder why)
Instituto Butantan in sao Paulo a biological research lab is working to combat snake pirates. Scientist at Butantan also work to develop venoms that prevent deaths from the snake bites
Some special conditions must be met before the bio researchers or Navy can go in;
A pair of thick socks, water proof leather boots ideally knee high.
A doctor has to be present and anti-venom on hand in case someone gets bitten by the snake.
Even still visitors to the Island have a huge possibility of dying