Tuesday 18 May 2010

Beware the Bullet Ant!

Whenever I'm working around the house I listen to the radio. One day I heard an item about the Bullet Ant, a fascinating creature if ever there was one! I found further information through internet research.
The Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata) of the Amazonian rain forest has a sting 30 times worse than a bee sting and so painful that it is likened to being shot with a bullet. There is no antidote and the waves of intense, throbbing pain last for 24 hours. This inch-long (25mm) ant lives in colonies of several hundred at the base of trees and jumps on anything it considers to be a potential threat. Before it leaps it screams a warning. Its grip is so powerful that if it bites something too hard to break it will be thrown into the air from the force of its jaws.
Image courtesy of Hans HillewaertIt would seem advisable to keep well away from such vicious creatures but the Satere-Maw√© people of Brazil, who know them as Tucandera, use them in an excruciating initiation ritual shown in the video clip below.

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