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It is a small island off the coast of Sao Paulo, where death and life cross unexpectedly in the most dangerous snake species in the world.
When we think of an island paradise, we all have in mind an idyllic place, with lots of vegetation and great beaches, especially little exploited by humans and of incomparable beauty. Well, there is a place in Brazil that has all these characteristics, but instead of a dream place it is a nightmare in its entirety: the island of snakes, a place forbidden for human beings … except to save lives
It is the island of Queimada Grande, located just 33 kilometers from the Brazilian coast, very close to the populous Sao Paulo. It is an islet of only 430,000 square meters, which does not have any inhabitant. At least human, it is a place where they have accounted for at least 30 different species of snakes, where there is one really important: the Bothrops insularis, possibly the most dangerous snake species in the world.
The island is presided by a large sign, which expressly states that access to humans without consent is prohibited. The reason? This snake is capable of killing in a matter of minutes, on an island that is flooded with them: a recent documentary on ‘Discovery Channel’ claims that there is one snake per square meter of the island, of which 4,000 of them are about autochthonous and dangerous Bothrops insularis.
This species, which only lives on Isla da Queimada Grande, measures about 70 centimeters and is light brown in color, it is really important for the human being. A few years ago, a scientific team discovered that, just as its bite is deadly to humans, this snake can also ironically save lives: the treatment of its venom is used to make captopril, a drug commonly used in the treatment of the hypertension.
Everything happened 11,000 years ago. At that time, Isla da Queimada Grande was connected by land to the American continent, but the rise in sea level caused it to become an island, being completely isolated. This situation led to the snakes in the area having to evolve in order to eat, especially the migratory birds that arrived there, improving the power of their poison over the centuries.
In fact, even the legend is part of this mysterious place. Some ancient writings that are preserved in Brazil talk about the pirates getting buried on the island some precious booties, then fill the place with dangerous snakes with the aim that no one could ever get the treasure. However, the real and real treasure is in the work carried out by scientists, the ‘only ones’ who access the site prior permission.
A visit of this kind, in which the experts took out the venom of the Bothrops insularis to turn it into medicine, is what the ‘Discovery Channel’ used to record the documentary. But it is known that there is another type of ‘visitors’: poachers who risk their lives to get one of these snakes, which can cost 50,000 euros on the black market. An unknown and dangerous island where the human being is forbidden to pass.
Source: El Confidencial