Google Maps has captured an island off the coast of Brazil – but visitors are forbidden from landing on it. The island is called Ilha da Queimada Grande in Portuguese but it has another name which hints at its frightening secret – Snake Island. This is because the Brazilian landmass is absolutely swarming in huge and venomous vipers. A single bite from the golden lancehead vipers on the island could kill you in an hour, according to the Smithsonian.
Golden lancehead vipers are unique to the island but are one of the deadliest snakes in the world.
Consequently, the Brazilian Navy has forbidden anyone to go onto the island, apart from some scientific visits.
Researchers have estimated that there are between one and five snakes per square meter on Ilha da Queimada Grande.
The island is now uninhabited but people did live there up until the late 1920s.
According to legend, a local lighthouse keeper on the island was killed along with his family when the snakes slithered in through the window.
The man, his wife and three children are said to have attempted to escape by running to their boat – but they were bitten by vipers on branches overhead.
Another disturbing story form Snake Island concerns a fisherman who landed on the island to pick bananas.
He was later found in his boat in a pool of his own blood after being bitten to death by the reptiles.
One (slightly far-fetched) theory to explain the snake infestation on the island is that pirates introduced them in order to protect buried treasure on the island.
However, it’s more likely their proliferation is due to rising sea levels. The island used to belong to the Brazilian mainland but was separated over thousands of years, reported All That’s Interesting.
Hence why the vipers left on the island evolved differently. Limited to birds as prey, they developed extra-potent venom in order to be able to quickly kill any bird.
The golden lancehead vipers will take to trees to hunt migratory birds who stop on the island as any local birds know to avoid the snakes.
There are no official documented cases of anyone being bitten by the vipers – because no one has ever survived long ever to make it to hospital, reported Business Insider.
According to experts, if one of the snakes does get you, the bite site will swell up and blister.
This could then be followed by vomiting, intestinal bleeding, kidney failure, brain haemorrhaging and muscle necrosis.
Other islands on Google Maps are frightening due to their human history – such as Wake Island roughly 2,300 miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii.