I’VE EATEN THE GREEN BUMS OF ANTS
Bangkok, 7 June 2016
Yes, I did that. On our recent tour of the Kimberley in Australia. The ant in question was the Green Tree ant or Weaver ant.
As readers can see, the ant has a bright green bum. The driver-cum-guide of our tour was a passionate advocate of the country’s Aboriginal population, of which there are still many in this little corner of Australia (it was the last part of the continent to be penetrated by white settlers, back in the 1870s). Among other things, on our walks through the bush he would point out various bush tucker (for non-Australians, that’s wild food which can be harvested in the bush), which he always claimed were bursting with proteins, Vitamin C, and other goodies, and which he would then invite us to try. So apart from Green Tree ants, I dutifully ate the petals of Australia’s kapok tree
the “petals” of the rosella “flower”
and the inside of the “nut” of the Australian boab tree (on which hangs a fascinating tale, which I will write up in a later post).
His partner, who was our cook, also fed us camel burghers (camels can now be found in the wild in Australia by their millions)
and kangaroo stew (also to be found in their millions throughout Australia, but of which we saw surprisingly few on this trip).
My conclusion: I really hope I don’t need to be a vegetarian in the Australian bush.
But actually, further research on my part since we returned from Australia suggests that the range of bush tucker we tried on our tour was rather limited. One article in Wikipedia has quite a long list of bush tucker to be found in the top end of Australia where we found ourselves, only one of which – the boab nut – we tried. So I really shouldn’t give up on bush tucker just yet.
Green tree ant: http://www.alexanderwild.com/Ants/Making-a-Living/Arboreal-Ants/i-wpGjWZ8
Kapok tree flower: http://www.crystalchannelers.com/blog/plantology—aboriginal-healing-recipes—reduce-a-fever
Open boab nut: https://outbackjoe.com/macho-divertissement/bush-tucker-plants-and-animals/boab-tree/
Wild camels in Australia: https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/pests-diseases/202-camels-in-western-australia?showall=1