Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bastard Costa Rican Wildlife: The Bullet Ant

When I first began this blog, one of the features that I wanted to include in addition to the overall theme of international relations and adjustment to new cultures, were the things that I got the chance to encounter here locally where I live in Costa Rica. So I created the feature "Bastard Wildlife of Costa Rica", and my first entry was that of the howler monkeys. They are bastards. Not only do I have to chase them for my back porch nowadays, but when you have a group of them up in the trees you can expect a literal shit storm....

Well it turns out that there are things far, far worse here fauna wise... and don't get me wrong, I am the tree hugger at heart and I love all animals for their majesty in their place in the great web of life. So I'm going to go ahead and reboot this feature with an animal that I consider to be the absolute worst here in this little country as well as all over Central and South America.

The bullet ant...


This is Paraponera clavata, the locals call him "Hormiga Veinticuatro" which means "24 Hour Ant". I and many other foreign expats prefer to refer to it as "HOLY FUUUUCK WHAT JUST BIT ME?!! AAAAAAAHHHH!! MAKE THE PAIN STOP PLEEEEAAASSE!!!!!" Which is a bit more of a mouth full, but 100% accurate nonetheless. I had the misfortune of being bitten by one of these little assholes when I first moved in to my new house out in the countryside. I literally thought the thing a vomited a tiny blow torch wielding micro-fairy into my bloodstream. 

Entomologists and other scientists rate the bite pain of a bullet at on the pain scale as being just slightly above stepping on a stone fish. Couple that with the fact that the venom stays in the victim's system for up to three days without any decrease in pain. In other words, in some cases, the bite feels exactly the way it did when you were first bitten up to three days later. It's crippling.... I'm not ashamed to say it, I did break down and cry on the second day. 

And liquor does nothing...

For some reason, primitive tribes both here and in the Amazon like to use these guys as some sort of twisted manhood trial. Most notably, the Brazillian tribes like to fill woven reed gloves with the fuckers and place one on each hand and make the victim...errr...prospective man do a ten minute dance. Below is a video of Steve Backshall of the Discovery's "The Venom Hunter" trying this ritual. If you've ever seen this show, you know that this guy is no wuss by any stretch, a bit on the stupid side maybe....but not a wuss. And well...I'll just let the video speak for itself...



Moral of the Story: If you are in the tropics and you see an inch long ant that is barking at you (did I mention that they bark?), leave it the eff alone or you will experience a pain so blinding, it consumes your whole next three days! 




24 comments:

BernT said...

We require more minerals !

Shutterbug said...

I am such a wuss!! I hate pain and would freak out if a bullet came near me.

Scott said...

Ugh, ants always creep me out! Can't stand little creatures like this that can swarm you in the 100's or 1000's!!

Raw said...

Oh my god I can't even imagine how bad that must hurt.
He was bawling shamelessly.

The Angry Lurker said...

That's a good description of a terrifying little bastard.

-DO- said...

Paraponera clavata sounds like foodstuff ... dangerous foodstuff

baxxman said...

What a luck I dont live there
Baxxmans

Toast Burnt said...

Woah, great blog. I do wish you would've expounded more on the "barking".

I follow and support those who do likewise.
toastburnt.blogspot.com

Siphil said...

Yeah, I've seen this video before on TV. And holy hell that is insane, if that's what it takes to be a man, then consider me a child.

The_illustrative_Mind said...

"Let's go dancing." Yeah, I bet that's about the only thing he could manage to do to stay somewhat conscious at that point.

Robert Fünf said...

Jeez. And I thought our fire ants were bad.

Something Concupiscible said...

Looks creepy. I bet it would hurt me. I'm a wuss.

d0t said...

I've had some vicious ant bites in my time. It seems to me like they wait until a few of them are on you, and then attack

gekomaster said...

Wow that really sucks, it must have hurt a lot :(

Con Queso said...

That sounds scary...I still haven't been bitten by fire ants before either.

las3R said...

Yeah I've heard about these nasty guys, in some article about how it's pretty high on the pain scale or whatever o_O

Patti D. said...

That is just as scary as gross!!

ankmanpro said...

Oh lord, that's vicious. followed!
alphabetalife.blogspot.com

Mike Yang said...

Short of cluster headaches and childbirth, that's pretty much the most painful thing that can happen to you... Sorry dude :(

Kim Anders said...

those things are scary as fuck

Banacek said...

3 days of intense pain?? Sounds awesome! I hate bugs a little more now.

ebm93 said...

They're scary

mmmpieohyeah said...

ah yeah I've seen one with a simillar size, although a different reputation...

Astronomy Pirate said...

Dang nature, you scary. A bit late on seeing this, but still freaky.