Well, they hardly had one

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Hormigas culonas are a relatively large variety of ant and they come equipped with very strong jaws. The practice of eating these ants in Santander is said to have been started by the Guane Indians, and, after slowly acquiring a taste for them, the Spanish began cultivating them as well. Packed full of protein and B vitamins, ants are an incredibly nutritious snack. But there is another reason why the people of Santander eat these ants which does not have to do with taste or nutrition. My two year old daughter was pushing in to get a better look, my wife was avoiding the proceedings at all costs.

There is a certain amount of truth in the adage that if the Sandanderos did not eat the ants the ants would eat them. Sparked by the heavy rains of spring, the queens and drones leave their subterranean homes and invade the upper regions of the world in search of new locations to establish their new colonies. When I arrived, in September, the yearly stock of ants was about gone. They are a seasonal delicacy of the Santander region of Colombia, and are harvested with gusto each year.

Rather all you taste

Like popcorn, I felt it pop and crunch as I chewed. Rather, all you taste is the salt and oil they are roasted in. Well, they hardly had one. If blindfolded, I would not have known I was eating an insect if it were not for their spindly legs getting caught in my teeth and poking my tongue. The ants were here, they were dead, they were ready to eat.

If there is enough of them, they can chew through just about anything. There is nothing gross or disgusting about this, and once you become accustom to eating insects they are no more novel than any other food that you will encounter in your travels. Petra Shepard eating ants As hormigas culonas are a once a year delicacy, they are also relatively expensive.

Today, people continue to eat them with gusto. These ants were cooked and prepped to eat. Bag of ants They were truly not bad, and I would more than likely eat them regularly if they were cheaper.

Shop in San Gil selling ants Upon returning to my hostel, I poured out the bag of ants onto a table. Especially as the health benefit of eating ants is incredible. Only the queen ants are collected, and it is said that that once processes they are more sought after than bread, and selling them is a lucrative seasonal business in these parts.

Like popcorn I felt it pop

Other merchants that I inquired about the price of these ants tried charging double this amount. Big black dead ants with incredible asses.