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Brazil Snake Island is home to world's deadliest serpent - and its venom MELTS human flesh

















Published on Jul 2, 2014










Fancy a trip to an island swarming with 4,000 of the world's deadliest snakes that pluck birds out of the sky and kill them with a venom that can melt human flesh?



That's what awaits you if you travel to Ilha de Queimada Grande 20 miles (32 km) off the coast of Sao Paolo, Brazil, which is home to the golden lancehead viper.




In fact, the island is deemed so dangerous that visiting it was been banned by the Brazilian government - although not before numerous people foolishly ventured there in the past.






Ilha de Queimada Grande, understandably nicknamed 'Snake Island', is a piece of land 4.6 million square feet (430,000 square metres) in size.




It's the only place on Earth where Bothrops insularis, also known as the golden lancehead viper, is known to inhabit.




That's probably a good thing, though, as the reptile is regarded as the world's most venomous viper.





The island is devoid of almost any human visitors, save for a few scientists granted permission to study the snakes each year, reports the Smithsonian.





It is also visited on occasion by the Brazilian navy, who tend to the autonomous lighthouse that was built back in 1909 before scampering clear.






And it's also thought that poachers have been known to visit the island and claim a golden lancehead viper for their own, with their price fetching as high as £17,500 ($30,000) on the black market.



The reason the viper has become so deadly is somewhat of a mystery, though.




After all, they are not too dissimilar to their brethren on the mainland.




The predominant theory is that 11,000 years ago sea levels rose and separated the island from Brazil, which left the snakes on the island with limited sources of food save for migrating birds.









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