9 insane photos of US Marines drinking snake blood and eating scorpions in jungle survival training

US, Republic of Korea, and Royal Thai Marines conduct an amphibious assault rehearsal during Cobra Gold 19 at Hat Yao Beach, Kingdom of Thailand.

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US, Republic of Korea, and Royal Thai Marines conduct an amphibious assault rehearsal during Cobra Gold 19 at Hat Yao Beach, Kingdom of Thailand.
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Lance Cpl. Kenny Nunez/US Marine Corps

  • On February 12, the US and Thailand launched Cobra Gold, one of the largest multi-national exercises in the world.
  • The annual exercise brings together 29 nations as participants or observers; nine participating countries include the US and Thailand as well as Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea, according to a US Army release.
  • The exercise, which will end on Friday, includes a field training exercise, humanitarian and disaster relief components.
  • One of the most anticipated aspects of the exercise is jungle survival training, when Royal Thai Marines teach their US counterparts how to identify edible foods, including plants and animals.
  • During the training, US troops have the opportunity to eat scorpions and geckos, and drink snake blood – all skills necessary to survive if one becomes isolated from their unit.

These Marines aren’t drinking snake blood just for show.

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US Marines get a taste of snake blood during jungle survival training.
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Reuters

Jungle training teaches essential skills for survival in a wild, tropical environment.

Marines learn skills from identifying poisonous plants, differentiating between venomous and non-venomous snakes, and finding water sources if they get lost.

One of the instructors interviewed by Marine Staff Sgt. Matthew Bragg said that drinking animal blood is one way to stay hydrated in the absence of another water source.


This anticipated part of their training will come in handy if Marines become isolated from their unit and far from the logistics train they normally depend on.

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US Marines cheer on comrades during the highly anticipated jungle survival training during exercise Cobra Gold.
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Spc. Mary Calkin/US Army National Guard

Instructors show Marines how to identify venomous and non-venomous snakes.

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A Royal Thai Marine instructor shows US Marines different types of snakes during jungle survival training.
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Spc. Mary Calkin/US Army National Guard

An instructor handles non-venomous snakes.

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REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The Marines also learn how to find and eat other jungle creatures, like geckos and gibbons.

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A Marine eats a gecko in Chanthaburi, Thailand, during Cobra Gold 19.
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REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

An instructor feeds a Marine a scorpion.

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A US Marine eats a scorpion in jungle survivor training during Cobra Gold 19.
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Spc. Mary Calkin/US Army National Guard

Marines also learn which plants are edible.

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Thai and US Marines eat a variety of fruits during Cobra Gold as they learn how to survive in the jungle.
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REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

An instructor shows Marines how to bite into the skin of a pineapple.

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Royal Thai Marine shows US Marines what to eat in the jungle during the exercise.
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Spc. Mary Calkin/US Army National Guard

Marines also learn skills like building fires and alternate ways to stay hydrated.

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A US Marine stands in front of snake skins during Cobra Gold in Chanthaburi, Thailand.
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REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

“I didn’t know that ants are a trace of water. Wherever they’re filing to, they know where the location of water is,” said US Army Spc. Louis Smith.

Smith said that new knowledge is something he’d take back home with him.