FEARLESS adventurers who explored a 400ft deep pit branded the “well of hell” were shocked to find a labyrinth of snakes living in it.
It is thought to be the first time anyone has ventured into the 100ft wide hole in a desert in Yemen as terrified locals believe it to be home to evil spirits.
Divers from the Oman Cave Exploration Team found no signs of the supernatural – but came across dozens of snakes deep under the ground.
The pit in the eastern province of Al-Mahra is thought to be millions of years old and the team also discovered dead animals and cave pearls.
“There were snakes, but they won’t bother you unless you bother them,” Mohammed al-Kindi, a geology professor at the German University of Technology in Oman, told AFP.
Kindi was among eight experienced cavers who took the plunge into the cave, while two colleagues remained at the top.
The massive hole is officially known as the Well of Barhout, with many locals convinced the natural wonder is a prison for demons.
Stories have circulated for centuries about mythical figures such as jinns or genies living in the well – and some regard it as the gate of hell.
Many locals are petrified of even visiting the vast pit, or talking about it in case it brings bad luck.
And the tales about the presence of evil spirits in the cave have been bolstered by the foul and toxic odours rising from its depths.
But the team who bravely decided to journey into the cave were stunned to discover grey and lime-green cave pearls, formed by dripping water.
“Passion drove us to do this, and we felt that this is something that will reveal a new wonder and part of Yemeni history,” Kindi, who also owns a mining and petroleum consultancy firm, said.
“We collected samples of water, rocks, soil and some dead animals but have yet to have them analysed.
“There were dead birds, which does create some bad odours, but there was no overwhelming bad smell.”