You all saw this coming, didn’t you? Everybody knows I hate ants so I’ll just skip to the point: Bullet Ants will fuck. You. Up.
What, you thought the name was a joke? Well, maybe more of a misreprensentation. After all, the one person I know who got stung by one described it more as being “stabbed over and over again for 12 hours.” Stabbed, not shot. Oh, thanks for clearing that up, you poor bastard. I’m sure we’ll all appreciate that distinction. But just to be clear, let’s find a gunshot victim and subject them to bullet ants. Y’know. For science.
The name, as you’ve probably figured, refers to the sting, which is generally considered to be the most painful non-lethal sting of any animal anywhere. And I’m sure it tops some of the lethal lists, too. (at what point is “really wanting to die” considered lethal?) The ant itself is pretty distinct–massive and shiny black with large mandibles that it uses to latch on while hammering away with its stinger. But most people don’t notice this little detail a they’re too busy screaming in agony.
Fortunately, the ants aren’t too numerous aggressive. They aren’t big into human spaces and don’t go out of their way to sting. It might have something to do with the fact that they’re some bad motherfuckers and know it. Nothing wants to mess with bullet ants, so they don’t act defensive. They usually forage alone not far from their colony, usually built into the roots of a tree or fallen log. If you see them, though, avoid the area. They will defend their nest.
Various field guides, textbook authors, and naturalist yahoos on YouTube have all given accounts of the sting to a curious or sadistic audience, either first- or secondhand. All of them have no doubt regretted it. That guy I mentioned earlier? He allowed an ant to bite him out of perverse curiosity. Then he spent the next night keeping the entire camp awake with his moans, and drank all our rum. I felt–and still feel–zero sympathy.
My thoughts on these daredevils? Good for them. My advice for you? Learn from them. Enough jackasses and experts alike have undergone this to justify anymore similar stunts. Bullet ants hurt. A lot. You don’t need to find this out for yourself. Don’t let curiosity get the better of you.
And, of course, as always: fuck ants.