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Deadly Destinations: Ilha de Queimade Grande


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It’s the home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the 710 metre tall statue of Christ the Redeemer. Found in Rio De Janeiro and just one of the popular tourist attractions to be found in Brazil. However, if you’re planning on visiting the country, there is one place you might want to avoid.

Snake IslandFound a few hundred miles from Rio or around 93 miles from Sao Paulo - another popular destination for tourists - is the Brazilian Island of Ilha de Queimade Grande. Whilst it looks quaint and perhaps even the epitome of paradise, there issnake_island one feature on the island that will soon make you change your mind. It is commonly known as Snake Island, and with good reason - it is overrun by venomous snakes.

In every square metre, local legend claims there are five deadly snakes. However, a documentary on the Discovery Channel maintains that there is one per square metre. Whilst this might not sound too unnerving, the 430,000 square metre island is home to the Golden Lancehead Viper. As one of the most venomous snakes on the planet, it is accountable for 90% of snakebite related deaths in Brazil.

The Lancehead can grow anything up to half a metre up to 2 metres in length. If that doesn’t sound frightening enough, the venom from one bite is enough to kill two people, is fast-acting and flesh-melting. Not only can they produce up to 50 babies per pregnancy, they are capable of breeding all year round.

The island is also said to be populated by King Cobras, another snake to make the list of the most venomous and growing up to 5.5metres in length. Whilst, they are generally shy towards humans; they can deliver enough neurotoxin per bite to bring down an elephant.

As these snakes have no predators, they have quickly over-populated the island, which is understandably devoid of human life. They survive by feasting on migrating birds that have landed for a break from their journey.

Local legend tells the stories of people who were unfortunate enough to find themselves on the island. The most common are of a fisherman who wandered onto the island for food, and of a lighthouse operator and his family who used to live there. However, it's questionable whether there is any truth in these.

If this still sounds like a great destination, you’ll be disappointed to known that the island is under 'quarantine' as the Brazilian navy currents bans anyone from visiting. However, there is an exception for scientists with a permit. 

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