Relaxing on a sandy beach may sound like paradise, but some of the most beautiful islands in the world are also the most deadly.
A recent TikTok trend saw users share jaw-dropping facts about some of the planet’s most dangerous islands.
Top of the list is Ilha da Queimada, located 20 miles off the coast of Brazil. There’s a clue in its nickname “Snake Island” as to why this haven in the Atlantic Ocean is less than inhabitable.
It’s completely covered with thousands of venomous snakes, some capable of melting the flesh right off your bones.
According to reports, there are five Golden Lancehead Vipers to every square metre of land – up to 4,000 in total on the tiny 106 acre island.
The vipers can grow up to half a metre long and are among the most poisonous species in the world, with venom that can melt flesh and kill within an hour.
No one’s lived on Ilha da Queimada for more than a century after a lighthouse keeper was killed by the serpents when they got in through an open window, according to legend.
The Brazilian Navy has banned all civilians from travelling to the island — and for good reason.
North Sentinel Island in the Indian Ocean is another deceptively beautiful place that could put your life in serious danger if you were ever to set foot on its shores.
It’s home to a tribe of people who have inhabited the island for more than 60,000 years, and they don’t welcome guests.
In 2018, American missionary John Chau, 26, is believed to have been shot dead by the tribe’s arrows while he was attempting to convert them to Christianity.
Local fishermen claim to have seen the tribespeople (allegedly cannibals) dragging his body away to be buried.
In 2006 two Indian fishermen were also killed when their boat drifted near the island while they slept.
Another toxic paradise is Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, which was selected by the US military as a nuclear test site after World War II.
A staggering 23 bombs were dropped on the coral reef, including one in 1954 that was 1,100 times larger than the infamous Hiroshima atom bomb.
Residents were relocated before tests began, and even more than 60 years later it’s not safe for humans to return, with the United Nations warning all water and food in the area has been contaminated by radiation.
Also thoroughly contaminated with toxins is Poveglia Island in the Venetian Lagoon of Italy, which has a reputation as the world’s “most haunted island”.
Local legend has it that Italians were banished to the island if they showed symptoms of the plague (or the Black Death, as it was known at the time) and the 18-acre plot of land became a mass grave for up to 160,000 victims.
To this day, ash from the cremated bodies is said to make up more than 50% of the island’s soil.
Even closer to home is Gruinard Island off the north west coast of Scotland, which is also known as “Anthrax Island” after corpses of animals used in chemical experiments were dumped there.
The tiny isle, measuring 1.2 miles by half a mile, has been abandoned ever since the British government used it to test biological weapons.
Sheep were reportedly placed in pens on the island while scientists dropped anthrax bombs on them, causing them to die within days.
The toxicity got so deadly Gruinard had to be quarantined for nearly 50 years until 1986, when there was an attempt at decontamination by soaking the ground in 280 tonnes of formaldehyde diluted in 2000 tonnes of seawater.
While it was officially dubbed safe, many experts remain unconvinced.
“I would not go walking on Gruinard,” excavation expert Dr Brian Moffat told the BBC in 2001.
“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.”