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Dangerous Animal Of The Week: Driver Ants

This is a recurring PGP series. Catch up with all installments of Dangerous Animal Of The Week by visiting the archive.

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Every Thursday, we take a look at one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Avoid these gnarly creatures, and stay safe out there in the wild.

If the prospect of being devoured by millions of insects makes you uneasy, this is going to be rough. Driver ants, also known as “siafu” in Swahili, or safari ants, are found mostly in central and east Africa. They’re similar to the army ants we’re familiar with in the southern United States, except they’re way fucking worse because the Dark Continent is indeed dark and full of terrors.

What is so scary about these damn driver ants?

These little buggers roll deeper than any other animal in the world. So deep they’ll put your ass to sleep. We’re talking swarms of up to 22 million ants. I just pooped my pants a little. They’re also nomadic, so they travel from place to place, setting up camp for days or months until they’ve devoured everything, and then they move on. When these dudes are traveling, they almost act as some kind of super organism. What do I mean by that? Let’s say you step on a member of the colony by accident. The entire swarm of millions of ants will then shift focus to attacking you, the perceived aggressor. They got that hive mind going on.

Did I mention they’re carnivores? While their main food source are earthworms and shit they come across and scarf down, they will attack and consume pretty much anything in their path. These tiny savages do not give a fuck. Imagine falling asleep under the wrong tree in Tanzania and waking up covered in millions of ants that are gnawing away at you, crawling into your ear canals, through your nose, invading your mouth, slowly suffocating you until you die, and then eating your entire body over time. They don’t kill humans often, but talk about a shit way to go.

Some of the larger driver ants have such strong jaws that the African people use them as emergency sutures. They grab an ant, get it to bite on both sides of a gash, then separate the body from the head. Boom. Stitches straight from mother nature that can hold for days at a time.

What should I do if I encounter driver ants?

I highly recommend bailing. Get the hell out of there. Run for your life. Do not become enamored by the millions of ants moving as one in beautifully hypnotic fashion. They will eat your face. And the rest of you.

Check out last week’s dangerous animal, the killer cone snail

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Ross Bolen

Ross Bolen is a New York Times Bestselling author, co-host of the Oysters, Clams & Cockles: Game of Thrones podcast, co-host of the Back Door Cover sports podcast, 2017 Masters attendee, bigger and more loyal Rockets, Astros and Texans fan than you, cheese enchilada aficionado, and nap god.

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