Survivorman - Eating Ants?

As a source of nourishment, even in a desperate survival situation, would eating ants help very much at all?

That lameass show that I can’t help but watch late at night (when it’s a choice between SurvivorMan, and Flip This House :rolleyes: ) with that lameass canuck seems to think so. I can’t imagine that he manages to get down more than 5 or 6 before getting annoyed, and looking for something more… substantial. Plus, there’s the “Uck!” factor.

Look like he was eating ants more out of insatiable boredom than anything else.

Chimpanzees will eat ants. They seem to be a bit smarter about it than SurvivorMan (make of that what you will) since they use sticks to gather up a bunch of ants into a decent sized mouthful instead of trying to eat the little buggers one at a time.

A friend went to 6th-grade camp (a different one from the one I went to) and they ate ants. He was bitten on the tongue, which swelled, and he was restricted to apple sauce for the rest of the week.

I noticed Survivoman bit their abdomens off last time I saw him do it.

Hey now! If it weren’t for Les, I wouldn’t know that I have to roast my cricket kebab before I eat it!


Don’t laugh. We have those in Thailand. Mainly in the Northeast, where bugs of all sorts are a delicacy.

Les Stroud doesn’t eat. He kicks Mother Nature’s ass until he’s full.

We should get Alton Brown and him to do a joint episode.

Les is like the McGuiver of food. Well, let’s not call it food, more like things-you-can-eat-that’s-not-poisonous. I kind of feel bad for him, while I understand the idea behind the show, it’s still far too contrived for most survival situations, where you’re caught with your pants down and very ill prepared. He always seems to have exactly what he needs to get him over a certain situation.

“OOOH! Look here in this abandoned snowmobile I found! 10 gallons (sorry liters) of gasoline and a and a satchel full of leathermans! And a sword! And a gum-wrapper! And some cotton wadding! And a thermal blanket! And some dry elemental sodium! And a Harmonica!”

Les Stroud would eat you, if he had to.

I disagree. Other than the Leatherman, Les generally has less than most dudes would have, and it seems to be a more or less random assortment of things that someone might have. He also really does stay out there, and not in Hotels (Man vs Wild!). Also, I think the “advice” you get on Survivorman is generally pretty good, whereas if you did that that althetic idiot on Man vs Wild did, you’d kill yourself, sure. Les even says “Generally, it is a good idea to stay in one spot” whenever he moves for some other reason. Survivorman= good. Man vs Wild= bad.

I all seriousness, I generally agree with you DrDeth. But he’s so much fun to poke fun at. Actually, there’s been some moments in his episodes where I think, this guy is hard core. Especially when he had to wipe the dog poop of that carrion in order to make fecal caribou stew in the dog sled episode. Yumm! He seemed to genuinely enjoy it though.

But there are those moments where he’s eating ant ass, that you gotta think, either he’s starving beyond the verge of eating his own limbs, ala Survivor Type, or he just really enjoys eating ant ass.

Still, I can’t help but find my self raising an eyebrow every so often when things seem a little TOO conveinient than reality might offer. The Hot Air Balloon episode in Africa for one. While he was in some jeopardy, i’m sure, I seem to remember he has some ingredients that just HAPPENED* to burst into flame when you mixed them. :dubious:

I’m just not buying ant booty as more than a nominal increase in protein. I can’t imagine such a thing being the saving grace between life or death, or at the very least, staving off hunger pangs.

*not that I doubt the science behind such a chemical reaction, only that, I’m curious of the chances of someone having those exact two chemicals on hand in such a situation?

The chemical mix in addition to other things was in response to a poll he did on his website on what people wanted to see him do. Things like little survival kits, show how to eat stuff, and building things while staying in one area.

Well, what do you want him to do? “Today we make fire by rubbing sticks together. Next week, we make fire by rubbing sticks together. Tune in the next week where we rub sticks together. This week, I only have the clothes on my back, next week…”

And you’re telling me you could wind up in the Canadian wilderness, almost in the Arctic circle and you WOULDN’T be on a snowmobile/car/plane? If you got there by walking, you don’t need survival tips, just the power of the yellow sun.

You’re right of course, which is why I can’t see the series lasting too long, there’s only so many climates, landscapes and ways to get stranded before all the survival tips start to overlap, and he’s got to contrive more and more situations. In reality, if you didn’t have a lighter on you, then yes, you’d probably rub two sticks together. It’s decent TV, though. I want to see him do the moon next…

Chimpanzees will eat termites in this way, but the only thing termites have in common with ants is that they are insects. Never heard of chimps eating ants.


I’ve heard that termites are related to cockroaches, and ants are related to wasps. True?


Yep. Termites so closely related to roachs that many taxonomists consider them the same order. Termites are social cockroaches

Ants are descended from wasps and belong to the same order.

Here’s what wiki sez about ants as food:
"*Ants and their larvae are eaten in different parts of the world. The eggs of two species of ants are the basis for the dish in Mexico known as “escamoles”. They are considered a form of insect caviar and can sell as high as $40 USD per pound because they are seasonal and hard to find. In the Colombian department of Santander, hormigas culonas (lit.: “fatass ants”) Atta laevigata are toasted alive and eaten.[51] This tradition has come down from the native Guanes. In parts of Thailand, ants are prepared and eaten in various ways. Khorat ant eggs and diced flying ants are eaten as an appetizer. Weaver ant eggs and larvae as well as the ants themselves may be used in a Thai salad, yum (ยำ), in a dish called yum khai mod daeng (ยำไข่มดแดง) or red ant egg salad, a dish that comes from the Issan or north-eastern region of Thailand. Weaver ant queens may also be eaten live, at the time of nest initiation.

Charles Thomas Bingham notes that in parts of India, and throughout Burma and Siam, a paste of the green weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, is served as a condiment with curry. Saville Kent, in the Naturalist in Australia wrote “Beauty, in the case of the green ant, is more than skin-deep. Their attractive, almost sweetmeat-like translucency possibly invited the first essays at their consumption by the human species.” Mashed up in water, after the manner of lemon squash, “these ants form a pleasant acid drink which is held in high favor by the natives of North Queensland, and is even appreciated by many European palates.”[52]

John Muir, in his First Summer in the Sierra notes that the Digger Indians of California ate the tickly acid gasters of the large jet-black carpenter ants. The Mexican Indians eat the replete workers, or living honey-pots, of the honey ant (Myrmecocystus).[52]*

I had heard about the last two.

So I guess sometimes ants can be a valid food source.

Unlike termites, they’re not a significant part of their diet nutritionally, but they do eat ants. The term, “ant dipping” pops up in this article and this one, as well as just about every non-scholarly website that talks about their diet. I had seen them eating what were clearly ants, not termites, in a wildlife documentary, but you probably wouldn’t buy that without cites, which is why I went looking for some.

Blake is essentially correct here, but to expand:

From wiki: *"Pterygota is a subclass of insects that includes the winged insects. It also includes insect orders that are secondarily wingless (that is, insect groups whose ancestors once had wings but that have lost them as a result of subsequent evolution).

The pterygotan group comprises almost all insects. The hexapod orders not included are the Microcoryphia (jumping bristletails) and the Thysanura (silverfishes and firebrats), and two primitively wingless insect orders. Also not included are the three orders that are no longer considered to be insects: Protura, Collembola, and Diplura."*

Both Ants and Termites are members of Pterygota.

This does not show they are closely related, it shows they are about as far apart as Orders can be and still both be part of the subclass Pterygota. They are part of different Superorders, Endopterygota for Ants, and Exopterygota for termites.

Note that is some discussion about these divisions all the time.

Again- Blake is correct, I am just expanding in case anyone wants to know more.

In his book Good to Eat, Marvin Harris quotes somebody studying chimps, who observed them using their “probe with a twig” method of finding ants and termites. He gave the recipe for eating these as (se miquote from memory) “Pull out a stick covered with insects. Scrape them off into your palm by drawing the stick between thumb and forefinger, throw the mass into your mouth and chew furiously (before they get a chance to bite the tongue or something else soft)”