And More Mposhi….

I had another (the fourth!) encounter with the red ants at my house at Kasanka. Luckily, this time they only invaded my front room and not my bedroom. They raided my food a bit, but most of it is kept in airtight containers and was safe.

I was reading  A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone’s Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries and of the Discovery of Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa, 1858-1864 written by David Livingstone and I came across this paragraph on page 68 and I thought I’d share it with you:

“The reddish ant, in the west called drivers, crossed our path daily, in solid columns an inch wide, and never the pugnacity of either man or beast exceed theirs. It is a sufficient cause of war if you only approach them, even by accident. Some turn of the ranks and stand with open mandibles, or, charging with extended jaws, bite with savage ferocity. When hunting, we lighted among them too often; while we were intent on the game, and without a thought of ants, they quietly covered us from head to foot, then all began to bite at the same instant; seizing a piece of the skin with their powerful pinchers, they twisted themselves round with it, as if determined to tear it out. Their bites are so terribly sharp that the bravest must run, and then strip to pick off those that still cling with their hooked jaws, as with steel forceps. We have not heard of them actually killing any animal except the Python, and that only when gorged and quite lethargic, but they soon clear away any dead animal matter; this appears to be their principal (sic) food, and their use in the economy of nature is clearly in the scavenger line.”

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