WITH their beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear seas, these tropical islands may look like the perfect location for a sun-kissed holiday – but appearances can be dangerously deceiving.
From cannibal tribes to swarms of deadly snakes, TikTok users have uncovered some of the world’s most dangerous islands – and it’s far from the usual #holidayinspo you’re accustomed to seeing on social media.
Just last week a paradise island in the Indian ocean banned anyone from swimming in the sea due to a deadly shark infestation.
Here we take a closer look at the world’s deadliest islands, so you don’t have to…
Overrun with 4,000 deadly snakes capable of melting flesh
In what is quite possibly everyone’s nightmare scenario, the island of Ilha da Queimada – situated around 20 miles off the coast of Brazil – is literally home to thousands of snakes – and not a lot else.
Creatively nicknamed Snake Island, there are reportedly five Golden Lancehead Vipers to every square metre – up to 4,000 in total on the tiny 106 acre isle.
The vipers, which grow up to half a metre long, are amongst the most venomous in the world and are so poisonous they’re said to have the ability to cause flesh to melt – and can kill within an hour.
No one has lived on the island for over a century, although there used to be a lighthouse keeper who apparently met an untimely death when the snakes got in through an open window.
How the snakes got there remains open for debate.
Legend has it that pirates dumped the snakes there to guard their treasure, although the most feasible explanation is the snakes were gradually stranded due to sea levels rising 11,000 years ago and cutting them off from the mainland.
Now the Brazilian Navy has banned all civilians from the island, although a few exceptions have been made for scientists in rare circumstances.
Isolated tribe who kill outsiders
It may look like a complete paradise, but North Sentinel Island in the Indian ocean has been home to a remote and decidedly unwelcoming Sentinelese tribe for over 60,000 years.
Contacting the group without permission is forbidden – and for good reason.
American John Chau was just 26 when he was reportedly shot dead with bows and arrows while visiting the island in 2018 in a bid to convert the tribe to Christianity.
Fishermen who took Chau to the island say they saw the tribespeople, who are completely isolated from the outside world, dragging and burying his body on the island.
It’s also been claimed the tribe practise cannibalism.
In 2006, two Indian fishermen were killed when their boat drifted onto the shore while they slept, and the helicopter sent to retrieve their bodies was met with a shower of arrows.
There’s thought to be approximately 100 people living on the 20 square mile piece of land in a small camp consisting of approximately 18 huts, although as contact is so limited, it’s impossible to say for sure.
However, some claim the group are simply protective of their territory, and are misunderstood – they simply want to be left alone.
Speaking to the BBC, anthropologist TM Pandit who is one of the few to have contact with the tribe, first visiting the island in 1967, said: “During our interactions they threatened us but it never reached a point where they went on to kill or wound. Whenever they got agitated we stepped back.”
Abandoned after bomb 1,100 times bigger than Hiroshima
Bikini Atoll was once a paradise island in the Pacific, until US 23 nuclear bombs were dropped on it in a series of tests after World War ll, including one in 1954 that was 1,100 times larger than the Hiroshima atom bomb.
At the time of the tests, residents of the islands were moved to other locations, and even though plant, animal and ocean life has since showed strong signs of recovery, humans are still unable to live and work on the atoll – which is a circular island or ring shaped coral reef.
A United Nations report in 2012 said the effects of radiation were long-lasting, with one expert claiming it had caused “near-irreversible environmental contamination”, with all water and food deemed inedible for humans.
The lack of fishing in the vicinity means sealife including sharks have been able to thrive in the surrounding area – making it popular with divers at least.
The ‘world’s most haunted’ island
Legend has it Poveglia Island, in the Venetian Lagoon, Italy, is the ‘most haunted’ island in the world – and its reputation is down to a very grim history full of disease and death.
According to locals, people were sent to the island if they had symptoms of the black death, and the 18-acre plot was used as a mass burial ground for up to 160,000 victims.
It has been said that even to this day, human ash from these cremations makes up more than 50 per cent of the island’s soil.
Not only that, but in the 1920s a psychiatric hospital was opened, with one doctor carrying out controversial experiments and procedures on helpless patients, before allegedly throwing himself from a belltower.
Despite this, it was sold at auction for £400,000 in 2014, but remains permanently closed to the public.
Not all the deadly islands are as tropical, and some are much, much closer to home – including Gruinard Island, just off the north west coast of Scotland.
Measuring only about 1.2 miles long by half a mile wide, don’t let its small stature fool you.
The small island has pretty much been abandoned for over 80 years, after it was used by the British government to test biological weapons during World War ll.
Since then, no one has settled on Gruinard, also once known as ‘Anthrax Island’ and the ‘Island of Death’.
According to The Scotsman, sheep were placed in pens on the island, and scientists dropped deadly anthrax bombs on them.
Three days later, they started dying, and contamination levels were so bad, the island was quarantined for nearly 50 years.
In 1986 attempts were made to decontaminate the 520-acre island by soaking the ground in 280 tonnes of formaldehyde diluted in 2000 tonnes of seawater.
However while it was later dubbed safe, some experts remained unconvinced.
According to the BBC, Dr Brian Moffat, archaeological director of a medieval hospital excavation, said his team had encountered buried anthrax spores which had survived for hundreds of years, saying in 2001: “I would not go walking on Gruinard.
“If anthrax is still active at Soutra, there is no reason to suppose it has not survived on more recent sites. It is a very resilient and deadly bacterium.”
While the warning signs have been removed, the island has remained largely unvisited and there is little life there.
Despite their dark past, while some of these islands may not be a threat to life nowadays, one thing is for sure.
It’s unlikely many people will be queuing up any time soon to book their relaxing summer holidays there…
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/2829269/worlds-most-dangerous-islands-snake-infestations-and-cannibal-tribes/