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Solo Expedition Part IV: Attack Of The Bullet Ants!

Attack of the Bullet Ants

1989: One day, hiking through the Amazon I saw a lemon-like fruit I could eat. I left the trail to pick the fruit and noticed my foot was next to a hole. I peered into the hole, wondering what creature lived there, picked the fruit, and returned to the trail to peel it. While peeling I happened to glance at the ground. My eyes popped out of my head and suddenly I was in abject terror! All sanity went out of the window! I began to scream. The fruit flew into the air, and I danced for my life.

Out of the hole came the meanest, nastiest-looking creatures I have ever seen and they had my death written all over them. Although I had never seen anything like these things I instantly knew they were poisonous and later discovered they were called, Bullet Ants. When they bite you it feels like being hit by a bullet.

Bullet Ants
Bullet Ant

The ants were an inch and a quarter long, black with armour-plated bodies and mandibles that looked like fish hooks attached firmly to their heads. I have never seen anything so determined in my life. Some were already charging up my legs with their mandibles never ceasing in their search for something to bite. Luckily I had tucked my trousers into my socks, like I had seen in the movies. This probably saved my life as I did not get ants in my pants.

I continued screaming as I ground the ferocious monsters into the soil with my boots, but the soil was soft and they kept popping back up, even angrier. I was fighting a losing battle. I covered my hands with my shirt sleeves to beat them off my trousers. One reached my hip. I hit it with my sleeve, but it caught on and with no hesitation charged straight up my arm with its mandibles coming together like a greedy sewing machine.

"It’s going for my neck!" I thought, as I ripped off my shirt careless of the buttons popping, and continued to dance and scream until I was bitten straight through my jeans. It was like a red-hot needle going in. And this woke me up! I found my senses. They screamed at me to run away. I did. My leg burned like crazy. Thankfully I had a bottle of rum for occasions like this, so I poured some on the wound and drank the rest! My leg was stiff for hours afterward.

Rather than scare me away from the jungle this experience enabled me to see its beauty. I realized that many creatures were upon the trees and the bushes. I had not seen them before because I did not know where to look. Previously I had been looking for something big in the depths of the forest. Now I looked much closer and discovered that everywhere, upon the leaves, the twigs, and the ground, were lizards, snakes, spiders, and insects in amazing disguise. For some reason, I remembered the old television series Kung Fu. The series began with the hero having to walk on rice paper without ripping it. If he could do that, he would be moving silently and could leave the monastery. I realised this is what I should do when walking through the forests. Move silently. Now, when I am walking in the Amazon, or any other forest, I place myself in Kung Fu mode. If anybody saw me they would think I was crazy creeping around a jungle like a Kung Fu nut, but this is how I get to see the creatures. I move slowly and tread softly, barely breaking a twig, listening, all the time listening, until I hear a noise. Then I stop, stay quiet, and look, to see where the noise is coming from. This way I can find the creature that made the sound.

In a place like the Amazon, you see first with your ears. Then with your eyes.


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