In fact, danger lurks around practically every corner: this seemingly peaceful paradise is actually known as “Snake Island.” In the past, people have said that the islet was home to hundreds of thousands of snakes. And although estimates are far lower than that today, there are still plenty of serpents living on the island. The reason for this drop in numbers, however, may stem from the actions of an even more ruthless predator.
Among the snakes on the island is Dipsas albifrons, which is no danger to humans. It is a lethal enemy of snails, though, which it happily consumes. But alongside this snail-eater are at least a couple of thousand golden lancehead vipers. And they pose a much greater threat to people. In fact, they are among the deadliest snakes on Earth.
The golden lancehead viper is a member of the Bothrops genus – a group of snakes named for the shape of their heads. But the ones on Ilha da Queimada Grande are distinguished by the color of their bellies. And although 36 sister species are found across South America, the golden lancehead viper is only found on this specific island.