Wild photos show US Marines munching on scorpions and washing them down with snake blood as they learn to survive in the jungle

US Army/US MarinesUS Marines eat scorpions and drink snake blood during the Cobra Gold 2020 jungle survival training
  • US Marines are in Thailand for Cobra Gold 2020, a massive multilateral exercise that kicked off in late February.
  • The exercise involves amphibious assault, evacuation, humanitarian assistance, landmine destruction, and jungle survival training, among other activities.
  • During the survival training, US Marines learn from their Thai counterparts how to live off the land, and that involves eating and drinking things that would not normally be on the menu.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US Marines are eating scorpions and drinking snake blood in the jungle, and no, it’s not because someone forgot to pack the Meals Ready to Eat.

Check out these wild photos and see how the Marines are connecting with nature in a way a lot of people would probably rather not.


Cobra Gold, a large multilateral exercise, kicked off in Thailand in late February, and one key part of the exercise is jungle survival training.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaRoyal Thai Marine Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasarnsa, Chief Jungle Survival Trainer with Marine Recon Patrol holds two Cobras during jungle survival training alongside his U.S. Marine counterparts

During the training, Marines learn valuable skills, specifically how to live off the land. This includes learning how to build a fire, learning what plants and animals are dangerous, and learning what is safe to eat and drink, the essentials should a Marine wind up alone in the jungle.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaRoyal Thai Marine Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasarnsa, Chief Jungle Survival Trainer with Marine Reconnaissance Patrol, displays a spider’s fangs during jungle survival training alongside his US Marines.

For instance, some plants can be a good source of water.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah HallU.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink water from a plant as part of jungle survival training.

And, there are, in many cases, a lot of different fruit available for consumption.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaU.S. Marine Cpl. Alicia Yoo with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, eats watermelon during jungle survival training.

But, when those options aren’t available, Marines can also eat geckos, gibbons, and even scorpions.

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaU.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Lance with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, eats a live scorpion as part of jungle survival training during exercise Cobra Gold 2020.

Then, of course, there is one of the most iconic aspects of the Cobra Gold jungle survival training, and that is drinking cobra blood.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah HallU.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink the blood of a King Cobra.

A King Cobra can grow to 13-feet-long and carries venom that attacks the central nervous system of its prey. A person bitten can die within 30 minutes.


No, this isn’t just something weird that Marines do in the jungle simply because they can.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah HallU.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink the blood of a King Cobra.

In the jungle, water may not always be readily available, and in those situations, Marines can drink animal blood to stay hydrated. Cobra blood is said to have a sweet taste.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Hannah HallU.S. Marines with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, drink the blood of a king cobra.

“We don’t do this for fun, but to survive,” a Royal Thai Marine instructor explained previously, adding, “It won’t fill you up, but it will keep you alive.”

U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicolas CholulaU.S. Marine Sgt. Etrice Sawyer a native of Miami, Fla., with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, drinks the blood of a King Cobra.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.