Atlas Obscura

An Island You Don’t Want to Visit

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While Snake Island is the most famous island ruled by a single species, it is by no means the only “animal island.” Pigs, rabbits, seals, and crabs have all made their claim to island kingdoms—and many of them would be a lot more fun to wander around than Snake Island. Here are some of our favorite “animal islands.” 

CAT ISLAND: Tashirojima, Japan

Tashirojima’s human population, once 1,000, is now just around 100. But the number of cats continues to grow. Unlike snakes, cats are beloved by both residents and tourists who care for them, and the island even features cat-shaped buildings.

(We previously covered Cat Island on our 100 Wonders video series.)

RABBIT ISLAND: Ōkunoshima, Japan


Once home to a secret poison gas factory meant to create deadly and illegal weapons for WWII, this island is now home to thousands upon thousands of rabbits. Although the exact origin of the rabbits is a bit unclear, it is believed that they descended from animals used as test subjects at the deadly factory that were released when Japan surrendered. 

SEAL ISLAND: False Bay, South Africa

Off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, is an island that serves as a major site for Cape Fur Seal breeding. It might be tempting to visit the seals were it not surrounded by the “ring of death,” a hunting ground for great white sharks looking for any seal foolish enough to stray far from their island stronghold. Seal Island, it seems, like Snake Island, is best left unvisited.  

For more on Atlas Obscura’s animal islands take a look at our animal island category page, where we have over a dozen different animal islands ranging from creatures great to small. 

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