The Peruvian Army Ant – Miniature Terror

Peruvian Army Ant, terror of the Jungle.

On the farm in the remote Amazon rain forest, all is quiet and wonderful. Breathtaking beauty is all encompassing. But with all that beauty there comes a price. Sleeping in such a primitive cabin on a pad is OK but only at times. One-night nature calls and I step out to relieve myself.

I finish my business and stop to look up at the stars, millions upon millions of them twinkle. I had never seen so many before. I walked passed different trees in an attempt to see more and after spending five minutes or so enjoying the view I return to my sleeping pad. I felt something crawling on my pants and I reach down and BOOM was stung by something razor sharp! I thought it was a spike on a thorny burr or bush. I brush it off my pants but keep feeling more stings. I was thinking where did all these burs came from?

I felt something inside my pants, startled, I smash it hard. It felt big what ever it was so I reach up my pant leg and BOOM was bitten on my hand and stung on the leg at the same time. What the hell is going on?. Grabbing my flashlight and turning it on soon revealed the horrific problem. An entire division of Peruvian army ant were ready and in battle mode.

Thank God these were not the feared bullet ants, in which each sting feels like being shot with a bullet, but instead these were second most dreaded ants in the whole Amazon and I managed to find them or they found me. This was the Peruvian Army Ant and since there are 128 million kinds of ants in the Amazonian jungle I hereby name these particular ants “The Panzer Special Forces Killer Ants”. Not sure if there really that many species but it has nice ring to it.

Like the dreaded Panzer tank, they can take a direct hit and keep on fighting. This is no joke, I smacked one on my leg but their exoskeleton is so hard that nothing happens but pissing them off and getting bitten on the hand and stung 150 times per second on the leg. My leg is now covered with them and they are mad as hell. Not sure if I peed on their den or what but these guys were out for blood. This was now a death match.

I brushed them off and they form up in military tactical teams. The Panzer, being about half the size of a cricket form up in the shape of a spear. The special forces half the size of Panzer form up in straight line. Like a bad “B” grade movie, the hulk Hogan Panzers charge first and rest follow.  The hulk Hogan reach my bare ankle and I smash him but of course he bites the shit out of me as the rest swarmed. We locked in a battle for death not quite sure who was scared the most. Special force’s ant’s raced up my leg both inside and out of my pants. In a violent panic I brush them off and tried smashing them on the floor. That worked, they bleed! I can kill them! Now I have a battle plan to fight back.

One of special forces reached past my knee and was heading straight for the boys. He was on mission and now on my inner thigh moving fast. Any guy will tell you this is now a very critical time. I jump up getting caught in my mosquito net. No time to worry about that, I rip my pants down and shine the light on the vermin mere inches from the boys swiping him off in Nano seconds. In my panic I had pulled down my underwear too. The boys where now free swinging totally exposed. The one problem now is that my pants are down and the rest of them swarm are on my bare legs. If this isn’t panic I don’t know what is.

The hulk Hogan Demon Panzer lead the charge. As I might be in slight panic mode (ok full panic mode) I dance around swinging like crazy one handed, tripping on my sheet as me and my mosquito net crash hard to the floor. The flashlight rolls off spinning in circles across the cabin. Now in real panic mode for sure and with no flashlight to see my bare legs. In my minds eye it felt like being chewed on by thousands of ants. You know like piranhas on bleeding meat. My arms are now wrapped up in the net and no flashlight to see the God awful killer ants plotting my demise. I roll, twist and turn to free my arms. In my panicked mind I imagine thousands of ants closing in on my boys.

Ripping the mosquito net, I roll over to the flashlight grabbing it, I freed myself from the net and got back into the battle. Now I am pissed, brushing them off and smashing them flat on the floor. Like a miniature battlefield there are dead and dying enemy troops all over. My legs feel like fire, I had considered crying out for help but my mouth was dry and my lips were now numb. I think I might be going into anaphylactic shock at this point. I pick up my shoe going to town like an insane lunatic flailing and smashing enemy troops flat.

Finally, peace comes. Hundreds  of peruvian army ant now lay dead. Picking up my mosquito net I hang it back up to fix the rips in the morning with duct tape. I lay down wondering when the God awful burning will stop. I feel more ants crawling on my legs. Oh, you’re just imagining it I thought. Ouch! oh hell no they are back!. Grabbing the flashlight, I see that the reserve army is now swarming.

A new hulk Hogan Panzer is in charge. He stops the attack to survey the battlefield, looking up at my light defiantly. I brush him off first with clenched fist smashing him flat onto the floor. I pick up my shoe and go into battle condition search and destroy. Not much of reserve force however, maybe twenty of the little devil beasts and I finish them off fairly easy.

Killing the last of them I slowly search every inch of the area. Finally, the battle is over. I fall into an exhausted nightmarish sleep only to wake in terror dreaming that a scout had ran back to the den and is now returning with the main battle force. Millions of new ants!, OMG this is living nightmare! Turning on my flashlight I quickly see it was only in my head. I survive the Peruvian Army Ant battle but not without the trauma of that battle being forever engraved upon my mind.

We as humans tend to think because we are bigger and smarter, we are tougher, well I challenge you to go face off with the Peruvian Army Ant and let me know how much of a warrior you are.

~Bruce Hemming~