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When people like David Gracer started preaching about the benefits of eating bugs, I don’t think they meant potentially deadly live scorpions. But that hasn’t stopped 34-year-old Ismail Jasim Mohammed from feasting on them for the last 15 years. Tired of getting stung by scorpions around the village of Agelam, near the Iraqi city of Samara, the farmer decided to turn the tables and give them a taste of their own medicine. One day, he caught a live scorpion, put it in his mouth and ate it alive. He actually liked the taste and he has been snacking on them ever since. Obviously, he was stung in the mouth a few times throughout the years, but Ismail says that helped him develop an immunity to the scorpion venom. These days, the man is addicted to his unusual diet, and says he eats at least one scorpion a day. If he goes three days without consuming a nasty critter he experiences signs of withdrawal.
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There is no shortage of scorpions around Agelam in the summer, but they are hard to find in the winter months, so in order to satisfy his bizarre craving all year round, Mohammed stocks up on bugs during the summer, and keeps them alive around the house. His wife and children are scared of the dangerous stingers and loath seeing Ismail eat them but they’ve gotten used to scorpions at the dinner table. Doctor Omar Ibrahim, from the Samarra Hospital examined the farmer and confirmed the scorpion toxin has no effect on him.
Ismail Jasim Mohammed is not the only person who has developed an immunity to venom in a rather unusual way. Steve Ludwin has been injecting snake venom into his bloodstream for over 20 years, to boost up his immune system.