A U.S. Marine drinks the blood of a cobra. Image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

US Marines in Thailand for the Cobra Gold training exercise took part in one of the wildest parts of the drills — drinking cobra blood.

Cobra Gold is an annual military exercise for Marines and one of the largest in the Indo-Pacific region. The 6,800 US personnel attending this year represents a clear show of American muscle in a region where China is growing more powerful.

This year, seven countries are participating in Cobra Gold — the US, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore.

Part of the drill involves jungle survival. Marines learn which plants and animals are safe to eat if they’re ever stranded.

Besides survival, it’s also a show of strength. Indonesian troops showed off for US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this year by drinking snake blood in front of him.

Here’s what the US Marines did this year:

Before you can drink a cobra’s blood, you have to catch it.

Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

It’s not always that easy.

Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

As in years past, Marines were invited to try drinking snake blood, which could keep them alive if they were ever stranded in the jungle.

Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

“Definitely my first time drinking snake blood. … It’s not something we do too often in America,” US Sergeant Christopher Fiffie told AFP after the training.

Image: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

It’s not just about snakes. The Thai military shows the US troops everything that’s safe to eat in the jungle — such as geckos.

This Marine doesn’t seem too happy about eating a gecko.

In past years, Marines have eaten scorpions.

In past years, Marines have eaten scorpions.

And bugs.

And bugs.

If there are no snakes around, Marines are also taught how to get water from a vine.

If there are no snakes around, Marines are also taught how to get water from a vine.

As well as which local fruits and vegetables are safe to eat.

As well as which local fruits and vegetables are safe to eat.

They don’t make it look that appetizing, though.

They don't make it look that appetizing, though.

Source: Business Insider

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