Coyote Peterson makes his living as a masochistic Bear Grylles, journeying to exotic locales for chance encounters with dangerous animals. Lately he’s been testing his resolve with excruciating insect stings, having already faced the ghastly Tarantula Hawk earlier this year. Being that the Tarantula Hawk ranks No. 2 on the insect sting pain index, Peterson decided to best himself by traveling to Costa Rica in search of the Bullet Ant, a gruesome little bug that administers the most painful insect sting known to man.
After getting lost in the disorienting greenery of Costa Rica’s jungle, Peterson captures an idle bullet ant, and quickly proceeds to sacrifice his forearm in the good name of science and sadism. The feisty little creature -- native to the South American rainforest -- is known to inflict an overwhelming surge of pain by way of its venomous stinger. Entomologist Justin Schmidt, who created the insect sting pain index, describes the bullet ant sting as similar to “walking over flaming charcoal with a three inch nail embedded in your heel.”
Around the 13-minute mark of the video, Peterson picks the bug up with forceps and allows it to penetrate his arm, plunging his veins full of venom. The bug initially gets its stinger stuck though, staying lodged in his skin for what seems like an eternity. After wrestling this arm free, the explorer falls to the ground, offering no shortage of PG-expletives and writhing in horror. The pain comes in waves, lasting up to 24-hours, with the venom capable of inducing hallucinations.
As he always does, Peterson survives after connecting with nature in the most punishing way possible.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.