How Many Snakes Are Actually On Snake Island?

With a name like Snake Island, you know you're going to be dealing with a lot of snakes, right? Located off the coast of Brazil, Snake Island is, according to The Travel, "a beautiful island, with tropical weather, rainforests and great coastline" but is strictly off limits to visitors because ... it's home to "thousands and thousands of snakes." Not just harmless little garter snakes who might innocently slither on by as you lie on the beach and soak up the sun, either. No, the snakes of Snake Island, also known as Ilha da Queimada Grande, are "the worst kinds of snakes."

As reported by Atlas Obscura, researchers estimate that there are between one to five snakes per meter. To make matters worse, the native snakes are golden lanceheads, a type of pit viper that are responsible for 90 percent of Brazil's deadly snakebites. They can grow to over half a meter long — approximately 20 inches — and have a bite that "melts the flesh" around the wound.

Going to Snake Island? Bring a doctor

Atlas Obscura reports that golden lanceheads' venom is particularly deadly because it evolved to "quickly incapacitate and kill seabirds that land on the island's trees before they are able to fly away." The venom is so deadly that the Brazilian Navy has forbid anyone to set foot on the island at all, save for some scientists, so any snake enthusisasts or daredevils out there fancying a trip to Snake Island are out of luck.

Per The Travel, anyone unlucky enough to get bit by a golden lancehead — which is very likely when there are that many snakes in one small area — would have just an hour to be treated with antivenom before succumbing to the snakes' deadly poison. Scientists who visit the island are required to take a doctor with them to treat any bites.

So how many snakes are we talking about? Between 2,000 to 4,000. (About.)

Has anyone actually ever lived on Snake Island? It is home to a lighthouse, so at some point a lighthouse keeper would have had to be present to operate it. Apparently Brazilians have a legend that the last Snake Island lighthouse keeper and his family were killed by snakes crawling through the windows of the lighthouse, which just adds to the mystique and terror of the snake-infested island.