Ilha da Queimada Grande (known informally as "Snake Island") is a 43,000 mi2
uninhabited island off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil, home to the
Golden Lancehead, a species of fer-de-lance endemic to the island.
With five times the toxicity of its mainland cousins (the
Fer-de-lance itself being responsible for more snakebite related
fatalities in the Americas than any other snake), the Golden Lancehead
is considered among the most venomous species in the world. And
because of its abundance of food (particularly small insects and
migratory birds) and absence of any natural predators, Queimada Grande
has developed one of the densest populations of snakes on the planet.
Conservative estimates place the number of Golden Lanceheads at about
one snake per square meter.
Due to the extreme risk the snakes pose to humans—and the potential
risk that humans may pose to the critically endangered Golden
Lanceheads—access to the island is prohibited by the Brazilian
government, outside of authorized scientific studies.
- "Paradise for Pit Vipers" by Robin Eveleigh, Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter (October 2000)
- "Golden lancehead (Bothrops insularis)" ARKive
insularis (Golden Lancehead, Queimada Island Bothrops)" IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species
- Lewis' dictionary of toxicology by Robert Alan Lewis (1998)
- "Island of the Golden Snakes" YouTube (June 20th, 2008)