Category Archives: South America

The mysterious worlds jungle tribes clinging to their ancient ways

In the 21st century, globalisation has brought the planet’s disparate populations and cultures closer than ever before, but there are still places — and people — who remain largely untouched by the outside world.

One of those remaining “lost” civilisations was thrust into the spotlight this week when American tourist and missionary John Allen Chau was reportedly killed by a flurry of arrows launched by an isolated tribe on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.

Those thought to be responsible, the Sentinelese tribe, live cut off from the outside world on an island located in India’s remote Andaman and Nicobar chain which is off-limits to visitors.

Because contact with the tribe is forbidden, Mr Chau’s killers will not be prosecuted for his death, according to local authorities. However, seven local fishermen were arrested for taking the American to the restricted island.

Just like the world’s hidden populations, stories like this are increasingly rare.

But the Sentinelese tribe are not completely unique in their isolation. In fact there are still considered to be around 100 uncontacted tribes living completely shut off from the outside world.


Very little is actually known about the indigenous Sentinelese people who occupy the small island in the Bay of Bengal in India.

The island — which is just 60 square kilometres and sits 1200km from the Indian mainland — has belonged to India since 1947 but is recognised as a sovereign state.

Rough estimates have put the Sentinelese population anywhere between 50 and 150 people. They live a hunter gatherer lifestyle on the heavily forested island and are said to have their own entirely unique language unintelligible to outsiders.

Scholars believe the Sentinelese migrated from Africa roughly 50,000 years ago, but most details of their lives remain completely unknown.

Overflight footage and satellite photos reveal no sign of agriculture. They do use metal, but it comes only from the few shipwrecks along their coast.

The heavily forested Jungle of North Sentinel Island is home to the protected Indian tribe.

The Sentinelese people clearly prefer to maintain their solitude.

As this week’s tragic events show, they really don’t like visitors. An attempt by the Indian government to formally contact the Sentinelese tribe in 1996 was rebuffed. Ever since then they shoot arrows at any boat that comes too close to their shores.

In 2006, members of the tribe killed two poachers who had been illegally fishing in the waters surrounding their home island after their boat drifted ashore, according to London-based watchdog group Survival International.

“Contact must never be imposed on tribes who don’t want it,” the group said on Friday. “Their neighbours, the Jarawa, have been treated like safari animals by tourists for years.”

Out of respect for the tribe’s clear wishes to be left alone, the Indian Government has made it illegal to sail within five kilometres of the island and strongly protect them.


In 2016, a plane flying over the Amazon rainforest in Brazil captured photos of the peoples of the lost Moxihatetema tribe.

The highly insular group has consistently spurned contact with the outside world and it’s believed that they even keep to themselves among the other indigenous communities in the area known as the Yanomami — a collection of about 35,000 indigenous people who live in some 200 to 250 villages in the region of the Amazon rainforest.

Despite being surrounded by illegal mining groups, the indigenous tribe is remarkably traditional, appearing to have no industrialised possessions, according to those who have seen them from afar.

An indigenous tribe, with their bodies painted in bright red staring at an aircraft overhead, in the Amazon region in the Brazilian-Peruvian border.

“We know that there are around 100 uncontacted tribes around the world. Most of them are in the Amazon, but there are others elsewhere in South America, and in Asia,” Fiona Watson, the former Campaigns Director at Survival International, told in 2016.

“There is nothing inevitable about the annihilation of uncontacted tribes. Where their lands are protected, they thrive,” she said at the time.

But illegal logging operations and miners, often referred to as Wildcat miners, represent one of the most pressing threats to the uncontacted peoples of the rainforest as the outside world continues to encroach on their environment in the hunt for natural resources.


In August, the Brazilian government body FUNAI, which describes itself as a protection agency for Indian interests and their culture, shared drone footage and photos taken in 2017 of an uncontacted tribe in the Javari Valley.

The pictures showed a thatched hut in the indigenous territory, canoes and tools of indigenous tribes.

The Javari River region is home to eight contacted tribes, and 11 confirmed isolated tribes, according to FUNAI.

The group was originally founded in 1910 by Brazilian marshal and explorer Candido Rondon, famous for his philosophy on interacting with tribes in the Amazon: “Die if necessary, but never kill.”

Handout picture taken in 2017 and released by the Brazilian government body FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) on August 23, 2018, showing an axe in the indigenous territory Vale do Javari in the Brazilian Amazon forest in the State of Amazonas.

Little is known about the uncontacted peoples in the region and efforts to find out more are discouraged these days. Overflights reveal they both hunt and cultivate their food. It’s also known they have acquired metal goods through trade.

The fate of one of these tribes — the Matis — compelled the Brazilian government to change its policy of enforced contact.

Within weeks of the first visit by officials, disease decimated three entire villages. In the face of such a disaster, Brazil ordered an end to all future such efforts.

Aside from the threat of disease, the risk to these remote tribespeople comes from ever closer mining and logging


Little is known about the uncontracted tribes of New Guinea. West Papua is known to have about 312 tribes. And some of these intermediate tribes — those that have made contact in the past century — still tell tales of other remote groups living further up in the remote highlands.

Contacting these tribes has not been easy: Michael Rockefeller, the son of vice-president of the United States Nelson Rockefeller, vanished while filming the Asmat people in New Guinea.

One of the largest Papua highlands ethnic groups, the 25,000 or so Dani, have managed to maintain their culture despite increased interaction with the outside world.

This may be because some of its communities are more remote than others: first contacted in 1909, one village was discovered from the air in 1938.

These tribes crop sweet potato, banana and cassava. They also herd pigs.

But they also follow some complex cultural practices — including penis gourds, smoke-mummification of elders and chopping off fingers to remember those killed in warfare.

Proud of their traditions, they also regard modern metal tools to be inferior to their own stone axes and blades — both in terms of performance and maintenance.

Tribes from all over Papua New Guinea — the world’s most culturally diverse nation — gather in the Western Highlands each year as a celebration of each tribe’s unique traditions and as a way of curtailing tribal warfare.


“People have this romanticised view that isolated tribes have chosen to keep away from the modern, evil world,” anthropologist Kim Hill told the BBC in 2014. “There is no such thing as a group that remains in isolation because they think it’s cool to not have contact with anyone else on the planet.”

The following year, Professor Hill and Professor Robert Walker published an editorial in Science magazine in 2015, calling for organised efforts to bring all “lost” tribes in contact with surrounding societies.

They argued these people’s cultures were no longer sustainable, and it would be more humane to integrate them into our own in the face of uncontrolled contact from miners, loggers, traffickers and thieves.

“Isolated populations are not viable in the long term,” they wrote, adding “well-organised contacts are today both humane and ethical. We know that soon after peaceful contact with the outside world, surviving indigenous populations rebound quickly from population crashes.”

They argue initial contact should be made by anthropologists, who then stay on site to monitor the community’s health — and call for help should an epidemic break out.

But other anthropologists argue this simply repeats the mistakes of the past, when missionaries and officials were encouraged to engage in peaceful contact with indigenous peoples.

They offered gifts of metal, medicines, glass — and bibles. But they also brought viruses and bacteria, killing the very people they intended to “save”.

As a result, Brazil — along with India and Indonesia — are attempting to enforce a policy of protecting uncontracted tribes’ lands and allowing them to live in peace & isolation.

Henry Sapiecha

Stay away from the Poisonous Manchineel, aka the “Tree of Death,” at All Costs

For all its raw beauty, nature can be pretty scary too. One minute you’re chomping a beautifully juicy green apple from a tropical branch, and the next your throat is rapidly closing up in a mad dash to the ER. Take the manchineel tree, for example. Sure, it’s nice to look at. But with a nickname like “tree of death,” don’t expect an entirely wonderful experience.

Danger! Watch out for yourself

The machineel is the most dangerous tree in the world. But just by looking, you would never know it. The tree is a beachy, tropical plant that generally looks like any other, save for its abundance of shiny green fruits. It’s native to Central America, the Caribbean, northern parts of South America, and tropical regions of North America, including South Florida.

But this tree isn’t for fruit-picking. Or carving your initials into. Or climbing. Or standing under. Or even just breathing near. Nope, this thing is basically just good for bringing the pain. There’s a reason the manchineel and its fruit have garnered all those punk rock nicknames: tree of death, poison guava, little apple of death, etc. As Michael G. Andreu and Melissa H. Friedman of the University of Florida wrote in a brief guide to the tree, “Warning: all parts of manchineel are extremely poisonous … Interaction with and ingestion of any part of this tree may be lethal.”

The Secret’s in the Sauce

As Andreu and Friedman described above, every component of the manchineel is basically a torture device, and that’s because of one thing. The tree oozes a thick, milky sap that seeps out of everything — the bark, the leaves, and the tempting little death apples that dangle off the branches. Coming into contact with this agony juice, which is made up of a slew of delightfully hellish toxins, will give you severe burn-like blisters.

The toxin in the sap that causes the most serious reactions is phorbol, a poisonous organic compound. The stuff is water soluble, which causes an unexpected problem when it rains. Let us set the scene: It’s pouring in south Florida, so you take refuge beneath a sweet tropical tree — a tree that just so happens to be a machineel. The rain from the sky washes the toxic, phorbol-riddled sap down through the leaves onto your bare flesh and boom — you’re in a world of pain.

A Cautionary Tale

Touching it is one thing, but eating it is a whole different animal. “The real death threat comes from gorging its small round fruit,” Ella Davies writes for the BBC. “Ingesting the fruit can prove fatal when severe vomiting and diarrhoea dehydrate the body to the point of no return.” Radiologist Nicola H. Strickland learned the danger of the seemingly innocuous “beach apple” the hard way in 1999.

She writes of a vacation with a friend to the idyllic beaches of the Caribbean island of Tobago. After some shell gathering and other typical beach vacation activities, Strickland and her cohort stumble upon some sweet-smelling crabapple-like interesting fruits. They chow down. It didn’t take long for the two to become overwhelmed by a peppery, burning feeling while their throats tightened in excruciating pain, to the point where they could barely swallow. Say hello to the manchineel! Thankfully, the two came out alive.

Two Sides to Every Story

Before you go campaigning for death to all manchineel trees, we’re here to tell you their is a sunny side to this sad tale of woe. Consider cute patio chairs. Caribbean carpenters have used wood from these trees in furniture for centuries, Science Alert reports. (They have to carefully cut and dry it in the sun to tame the poisonous sap, of course.) The trees also play an important role in Central American ecosystems. The large, shrubby manchineel grows into dense, protective walls that protect from coastal erosion on the region’s tropical beaches. Hey, what’s good for the beaches is good with us.


Commonly known as manchineel. All parts of this tree, including the fruit, contain toxic phorbol esters typical of the Euphorbiaceae plant family. Specifically the tree contains 12-deoxy-5-hydroxyphorbol-6gamma, 7alpha-oxide, hippomanins, mancinellin, sapogenin, phloracetophenone-2, 4-dimethylether is present in the leaves, while the fruits possess physostigmine.[84] Contact with the milky white latex produces strong allergic dermatitis.[85] Standing beneath the tree during rain will cause blistering of the skin from even slight contact with this liquid (even a small drop of rain with the milky substance in it will cause the skin to blister). Burning tree parts may cause blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. The fruit can also be fatal if eaten. Many trees carry a warning sign, while others have been marked with a red “X” on the trunk to indicate danger. In the French Antilles the trees are often marked with a painted red band a few feet above the ground.[86] The Caribs used the latex of this tree to poison their arrows and would tie captives to the trunk of the tree, ensuring a slow and painful death. A poultice of arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) was used by the Arawaks and Taíno as an antidote against such arrow poisons.[87] The Caribs were also known to poison the water supply of their enemies with the leaves.[citation needed] Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was struck by an arrow that had been poisoned with manchineel sap during battle with the Calusa in Florida, dying shortly thereafter.[88]



Watch out for these Worlds Most Deadliest 41 Venomous Dangerous Snakes on Earth.

Adding more here to our data base of the worlds most dangerous snakes. No particular order. Just enjoy the scarey journey.Presented to you by Henry Sapiecha of the site + 100 other sites that I have enjoyed developing & sharing with you all.


1…Caspian Cobra

The Caspian cobra is found in central Asia. This snake is known for being very aggressive and bad-tempered. They tend to avoid humans, but will become aggressive towards them if they feel threatened. When feeling threatened it will spread its hood, hiss, and sway side-to-side, then finally strike its target multiple times. Once bitten a person may experience drowsiness, weakness, paralysis of the limbs. If untreated, the bite can result in death from respiratory failure

2…Monocled Cobra

The Monocled Cobra is widespread across south and southeast Asia. The monocled cobra was given its name due to its O-shaped, or monocellate hood pattern. These cobras prefer habitats with water such as paddy fields or swamps. However, they can adapt easily and can also be found in grasslands and forests. This cobra causes the most fatalities from snake venom poisoning in Thailand. In severe cases of envenomation death can occur within 60 minutes.

3…Jameson’s Green Mamba

The Jameson’s Green Mamba is very similar to its counterparts, the Eastern and Western Green Mamba. The Jameson’s Green Mamba can grow up to 8 feet and 8 inches (2.64 meters) long, with a dull green color across the back that blends into a pale green. It’s scales are normally edged with black. They inhabit parts of Africa and prefer landscapes such as primary and secondary rainforests, woodland, and forest-savanna. However, they are highly adaptable and can be found many times in urban areas. Their venom is highly neurotoxic and death can occur between 30-120 minutes.

4 …Rhinoceros Viper

The Rhinoceros viper is very similar to the Gaboon Viper, but has a less dangerous bite. They are slow moving, but are capable of striking quickly and it all directions, without warning. If they feel threatened, they will hiss. Its hiss is said to be the loudest out of all the African snakes, and it sounds more like a shriek. Their venom contains a neurotoxin and hemotoxin which attacks the circulatory system of its victims.

5…Chinese Cobra

The Chinese Cobra is one of the most venomous members of the cobra family. It is mainly found in mainland China and Taiwan, and has caused the most snakebites in those areas. The Chinese Cobra is always aware of its surroundings and is seldom cornered. However, if it feels threatened it will raise its forebody and spread its hood, ready to strike. Local symptoms of a bite include pain, insensibility and necrosis. Necrosis, even after treatment, may persist for many years within the victim.

5…Coastal Taipan

If untreated, a Coastal Taipan bite is 100% fatal. You do not need to worry, unless you are in the northern and eastern regions of Australia or in New Guinea. Coastal Taipans are the longest venomous snake in Australia and can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) long. The Coastal Taipan’s venom consists of a highly potent neurotoxin that affects the nervous system and the blood’s ability to clot. Death can occur in as little as 30 minutes after a bite.

6…Red-Bellied Black Snake

The red-bellied black snake is found in parts of eastern Australia. It inhabits woodlands, forests and swamplands. It is also common to find them in urban areas. The snake is glossy black on the dorsal surface and red, crimson or pink in color on the lower sides and belly. This snake is normally not aggressive. However, if it feels threatened, it will recoil into a striking stance. Bites from these snakes are not normally fatal, but you should still seek medical attention.

7…Mali Cobra

The Mali cobra is a species of venomous spitting cobra that is found in Western Africa. The cobra ranges from Senegal to Cameroon, with reports to also be found from Gambia, Burkina Faso, southern Mali, and a few other countries. It inhabits both tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands. Its venom contains postsynaptic neurotoxins, cardiotoxins, and cytotoxic activity. The Mali cobra is responsible for the most snake bites in Senegal.

8…Sea Snake

Sea Snake’s venom is more toxic than its land-dwelling counterparts. However, sea snakes will only attack when provoked. However, the danger of a sea snake should not be underestimated. Most people that have been bitten work on trawlers, in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, as snakes are sometimes hauled in with the catch. Only a small proportion of bites have been fatal. Symptoms, such as muscles aches, spasms will most likely occur  30 minutes after the bite. If not treated one can suffer from more severe symptoms such as blurred vision and respiratory paralysis.

9…Egyptian Cobra

The Egyptian Cobra is one of the largest cobra species in Africa. It has many similar physical traits to other cobras, like a hood. However, what makes it distinct is its coloring and often a tear-drop mark near the eye. This cobra has very large fangs which allows it to deliver large quantities of venom. A bite should be considered a medical emergency as its venom affects the nervous system which eventually leads to respiratory failure

10…King Brown Snake

The King Brown Snake is the second longest species of venomous snakes in Australia. They can grow up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) long. Their venom is relatively weak compared to other species. However, what they lack in quality, they make up for in quantity. These snakes will deliver large amounts of venom when they bite. The average snakes deliver 180 milligrams during a bite. The king brown delivers close to 600 milligrams. The untreated mortality rate is 30-40%.


The dugite is a venomous snake found in western Australia. Dugites are normally shy and will slither away upon seen a human. However, like many other snakes will attack if they feel cornered. Dugites are considered highly dangerous due to their very potent venom that causes both coagulopathic and procoagulant effects. Although they rarely bite humans, when they do, it is normally during when they are most active in their mating season (October and November)

12…Gaboon Viper

The Gaboon viper lives in the rainforests and savannas of sub-Saharan Africa. It is the worlds heaviest viperid and has the longest fangs of 5 centimeters (2 inches). It is normally slow moving and placid, and they are known for lying in wait for hours for their prey to pass by. Due to their docile nature, bites normally only occur when they are stepped on. However, it should be considered a medical emergency when a bite does occur.

13…Black-Necked Spitting Cobra

Keep your distance from this snake, as the black-necked spitting cobra can eject venom from its fangs over 7 meters (23 feet) with perfect accuracy. They are mainly found in just sub-Saharan Africa and can grow up to 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) long. Bites can lead to blisters, inflammation and permanent blindness if venom makes contact with the eyes.

14…Sharp-Nosed Pit Viper

The Sharp-nosed pit viper is found in southeast Asia. Its highly potent venom contains hemotoxin that is very likely to lead to hemorrhaging. Its nickname is the “hundred pacer.” It has been believed that victims will only be able to walk 100 steps before dying. However, there is an antivenin made in Taiwan. Symptoms from a bite include swelling, blistering, necrosis, and ulceration

15…Cape Cobra

The Cape Cobra is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa due to its highly potent venom and its common occurrences around houses. The mortality rate for bites from a cape cobra are unknown, but are believed to be high. If a victim does not receive the antivenin it is likely he or she will die from respiratory failure.

16…South American Bushmaster

The longest snakes in the western hemisphere are the South American Bushmasters. In addition, they are the longest pit-viper in the world. They inhabit parts of South America and tend to dwell in equatorial forests. The primarily feed on mice and rats, but will attack when provoked. Unfortunately, not much is known about their venom as they are highly susceptible from stress. Therefore, they die quickly when in captivity.


The jararaca is a species of pit-viper found in souther Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina. The snake prefers to live in open areas, such as farmland. Its venom is considered very toxic and causes symptoms such as bruising and blistering of the affected limb and spontaneous systemic bleeding of the gums and into the skin. However, one good thing was derived from the venom, the ACE inhibitor, which is used to treat hypertension and some types of congestive heart failure.

18…Forest Cobra

The forest cobra is native to Africa, mainly dwelling in the central and western parts of the continent. Its preferred habitat in the lowland forest and moist savannah. However, it can be found in drier climates and is a very good swimmer. Although bites to humans are rare, they are very dangerous when they occur. This snake injects a large amount of venom into its victims. Death can occur 30-120 minutes after being bitten.

19…Western Green Mamba

The western green mamba, as you would suspect, resides in west Africa. However, bites to people from this snake are very uncommon. However, when people are bitten the mortality rate is extremely high. Once bitten there is a rapid progression of life-threatening symptoms including suffocation resulting from paralysis of the respiratory muscles. Death has been also been reported to occur within 30 minutes of the bite.

20…Eastern Green Mamba

The eastern green mamba resides in East Africa and is normally found dwelling in trees. This highly venomous snake can grown up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) in length. This species has bitten many humans, many of which have resulted in fatalities. There was one case where someone died in as little as 30 minutes after the bite. Other symptoms of the venom include difficulty breathing, convulsions and nausea.

21…Common Death Adder

The common death adder is native to Australia. Not only is it one of the most venomous snakes in Australia, but also the whole world. The death adder is a master of camouflage and likes to hide beneath loose leaves in woodlands and grasslands. Its venom contains a very potent neurotoxin which can lead to death within 6 hours after the bite.

22…Malayan Krait

The Malayan krait inhabits Thailand and much of Southeast Asia. They tend to shy away from the sun and are very active at night. Their venom is highly poisonous and death can result as soon as 12-24 hours after bite. Sadly, even after treatment, 50% of its victims will succumb to effects of the poison, dying usually from respiration failure.

23…Many-Banded Krait

Also known as the Taiwanese or Chinese Krait, the many-banded krait is a highly venomous snake found in southern China and Southeast Asia. In the daytime, this snakes hides in places such as holes and under rocks. However, at night, it hunts and becomes more aggressive. Symptoms will not appear promptly after bite, but may show hours later. If untreated, death is likely 70-100% of the time.

24…Terciopelo Viper

The terciopelo viper is one of the most dangerous snakes in the neotropical rainforest in Central America. They can grow up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) long and have heads that are 10 centimeters (4 inches) wide. They are responsible for the majority of snakebites in Central America. Their venom contains hemotoxins and if not treated with an antivenin can lead to death.

25…Common Krait

A member of the “big four” species in India, the common krait, is also known as the blue krait. The common krait feeds on other snakes and small mammals. Although reluctant to bite people, if it does, it will clasp and hold for awhile in order to inject a large amount of venom. The venom consists of mostly powerful neurotoxins leading to muscle paralysis.

26…Russell’s Viper

Russell’s viper is found in the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia. Like the Indian Cobra it is considered on of the “big four” species. Russell’s viper can grow up to 166 centimeters (5.5 feet) in length. The snake is often times found in high urbanized areas due to the attraction of rodents. Therefore, those working in fields outside of cities are at a high risk of being bitten.

27…Indian Cobra

Made popular by snake charmers, the Indian cobra is found all over the Indian subcontinent. It is a member of the “big four” species, the 4 species that inflict the most snakebites on humans in India. However, as it’s admired in Indian culture, it is protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. Its venom mainly consists of neuro and cardiotoxins. This means a bite can lead to paralysis of the muscles or even cardiac arrest. Symptoms can show anywhere between 15 minutes to 2 hours after the bite.

28…African Puff Adder

The puff adder is found in African savannah and grasslands, and is the most commonly found snake on the continent. Due to its commonality, it is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa. If they feel threatened or disturbed, they will adopt a tight coiled posture and the fore part of their body will form an “S” shape. They are very aggressive and strike very fast.

29…Philippine Cobra

If you see a Philippine Cobra, you better run away. These cobras are highly venomous and are capable of accurately spitting their venom at a target up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) away. The Philippine cobra is normally found in forested areas, along open fields. They are also fond of water, and therefore, can be found many times close to ponds and rivers. Small rodents are the preferred prey of their choice

30…Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

The western diamondback rattlesnake inhabits the southwestern area of the United States. It has been reported that it is most likely responsible for the majority of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and the largest number of snakebites in the U.S. The western diamondback rattlesnake has very large venom glands and special fangs so it can deliver a large amount of venom to its victims. However, as it normally preys on small mammals, it will only bite a human if provoked.

31…Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

According to National Geographic “The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest venomous snake in North America. Some reach 8 feet (2.4 meters) in length and weigh up to 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms).” Despite what people think the eastern diamondback rattlesnake will not attack humans unless it feels threatened. Bites normally happen when a person is taunting or trying to capture the snake. The last warning before a bite is when the snake violently shakes its tail. Bites can result in red blood cells deterioration, tissue damage, and if left untreated, death.

32…Common Lacehead

The common lacehead, also known as the bothrops atrox, inhabits the tropical lowlands of nothern South America. The species of pit-viper is easily agitated and is generally nocturnal. However, when necessary it may forage through the day, climbing trees and even swimming. It is often times found in coffee and banana plantations searching for rodents. Therefore, due to their camouflage, workers do not see the snakes and are often bitten. The venom is very lethal and fast acting. Even when received treatment, almost all cases lead to temporary of sometimes permanent memory loss.

33…Eastern Brown Snake

The eastern brown snake is mainly found along the east coast of Australia. The snake is considered to be the second-most venomous terrestrial snake. Its venom has both neurotoxins and blood coagulants. A bite from the eastern brown snake can cause dizziness, renal failure, paralysis and cardiac arrest. Although it normally only eats rodents, like mice, if it feels threatened, it will bite a human. It is responsible for 60% of snake bite deaths in Australia.

34…Inland Taipan

The Inland Taipan is the most venomous of all the snakes in the world. What also separates this snakes from many others is its prey. The snake is an expert in hunting mammals, therefore, its venom is adapted to kill warm-blooded species. It normally does not strike unless provoked. Its venom contains neurotoxins which affect the nervous system, hemotoxins which affect the blood, and myotoxins which affect the the muscles. If untreated the venom can be lethal.

35…Tiger Snake

Tiger Snakes are found in the southern regions of Australia and some of its coastal islands. It gets in name from its color, as it is often banded like a tiger. A tiger snake’s venom contains many potent toxins. Once bitten a person will experience, at first, localized pain followed by breathing difficulties and finally paralysis. Studies show that untreated bites have a mortality rate of 40-60%.


The sub-Saharan African Boomslang, may look cool. However, do not touch! The average adult boomslang is 100–160 cm (3¼–5¼ feet) in length, with extremely large eyes. The boomslang has a highly potent venom that it can deliver through fangs at the back of its jaw. The snake is able to open its jaws 170° when biting. The venom is mainly made of a hemotoxin which disables the coagulation process in a person’s body. Signs and symptoms of a bite may not show until hours after.

39…Black Mamba

The Black Mamba is found in the savannas and rocky areas in southern and eastern Africa. It can grow up to 14 feet long and can slither up to 12.5 mph, making it the fastest snake in all the planet. Although it only attacks when it is provoked, when it does attack beware. The Black Mamba will bite several times, delivering enough toxins to kill 10 people. There is a antivenin but it must be received within 20 minutes.

40…Saw-Scaled Viper

The Saw-Scaled Viper kills more people than any other snake each year. Although it only grows to 1-3 feet long, its venomous bite can do lots of damage. Their venom contains hemotoxins and cytotoxins, which leads to multiple bleeding disorders including the possibility of an intracranial hemorrhage. Many of these snakes are found in areas where modern medicine is not found. Therefore, victims sometimes suffer a long, painful death.

41…King Cobra

The King Cobra is the world’s longest venomous snake. It is predominantly found in India and other parts of Southeast Asia. The King Cobra’s venom’s toxins attack the victim’s central nervous system resulting in pain, vertigo and eventually paralysis. It has been reported that death can occur as short as 30 minutes without the antivenin. The toxin is so deadly, it could even kill a large elephant.

Henry Sapiecha



Why Do Hundreds of Macaws Gather at These Clay Banks in Peru?

macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (1)

Brightly colored parrots of the western Amazon basin display a behavior not seen anywhere else

macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (3)


macaws-clay-lickimage www.pythonjungle (2)

Along exposed river banks in the western Amazon basin, within the borders of Peru, macaws and other parrots in rainbow hues flock by the hundreds. They come to gather clay that they’ll later eat in nearby trees. It’s a dazzling sight for human onlookers, but it’s been a bit of a mystery for science. Why would various types of macaws and other parrots want to gorge on clay when normally they eat plant matter?

macaws clay lick cliff images

At first, studies hinted that the clay might help remove toxins, such as naturally occurring tannins, that the birds ingest from plants. When animals in general consume clay, it can help neutralize such toxins through the process of absorption, in which the clay binds to the tannins before the gastrointestinal tract can absorb them. The toxins then get excreted alongside the clay. (Some humans also eat or drink clay to combat stomach problems and other issues, and many pharmacies around the world sell activated charcoal, another adsorbant that can bind with toxins or drugs to prevent them from being gastrointestinally absorbed.)

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (5)

But more recently, as Wired reports, studies show that the birds in Peru may be “using the reddish-brown muck to help augment a sodium-poor diet.” Donald Brightsmith, who directs the Tambopata Macaw Project in the lowlands of southeastern Peru, points out that parrots in other regions around the globe consume foods that contain toxins, including those with tannins, and yet it’s only those in the western Amazon basin who visit these clay banks, also called salt licks or clay licks. Brightsmith argues that there’s a connection between this clay-eating and the fact that the western Amazon basin is lacking in salt.

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (1)

As a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains, sodium supply varies by region. The farther an area is from the ocean, the more its rain may lack salt. Plus, in inland areas with high rainfall, sodium may leach out of the soil. So Brightsmith and his research team, Wired explains, are testing the importance of salt intake in the overall health of macaws.

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (4)

Brightsmith’s team has studied the local population of large macaws during an unstable time for the birds. As the Tambopata Macaw Project explains on its site, large macaws drastically decreased their use of the clay licks in 2009, possibly due to changes in vegetation and soil conditions. In early 2010, the team joined forces with the Peruvian government in an attempt to manage the clay banks and help restore the birds’ usage. The birds face other ecological concerns, too, including “imminent threat from the paving of a highway through one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions.”

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (3)

Several areas in Peru provide tourists an especially good view of the birds and their clay banks, including Tambopata National Reserve in southeastern Peru, along the same Tambopata river where Brightsmith does his work. Tambopata, according to the Macaw Project, has the “the highest concentration of avian clay licks in the world.”

macaws clay lick cliff images www.pythobjungle (2)



Another good place to spy the birds feasting on clay licks is at Manú National Park and Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage site that Unesco calls the most biologically diverse place on Earth. Manú boasts “more than 800 bird species and 200 species of mammals” that scientists have identified, including six species of macaw.

Still, as majestic as Manú is, Tambopata may be more tourist-friendly. As the Macaw Project writes, there are several options for visitors to the Tambopata area, including the Tambopata Research Center lodge, which is just 500 yards from the largest-known macaw clay lick in the Amazon.

Even better, guests at the lodge can often accompany researchers as they work with macaw chicks—little ones who’ll soon sprout rainbow feathers of their own.


Henry Sapiecha


PIRANHA: Attacks can be deadly.

A six-year-old girl was found dead with her legs devoured by piranhas following a boating accident in Brazil, according to local media.

Adrila Muniz was with her grandmother and four other children on the Maicuru river in the northern state of Para, near Monte Alegre, when bad weather caused their canoe to capsize.

While the other children were saved, piranhas set upon the girl, biting away her flesh to the bone. One account suggests the child first drowned and then the lower half of her body was attacked.

“I tried to hold on to her, but with all the other children around she slipped out of my grasp,” the grandmother reportedly told local media, in quotes published by the International Business Times.

“I couldn’t see her any more when we got to the bank.”

The girl was pulled out of the water and dragged into the canoe. She died at the scene.

The girl lived in the municipality of Prainha and was visiting her grandparents on school holidays at the Caucu community, according to reports.

The death occurred on January 27.

Piranha attacks, while rare, can be deadly, particularly for children. A five-year-old girl died in an attack, also in Brazil, in 2012.






Henry Sapiecha