A military programme, jointly organised between the Thai and American armies and held earlier this month, included some extreme jungle survival training. And we warn readers that some of these images may be disturbing.
A ten-day drill in the Sattahip district of Thailand's Chonburi province trains US Marines on killing venomous animals, like cobras. But it doesn't stop there. After killing the cobras, instructors from the Royal Thai Special Forces, asked the American soldiers to drink the reptile's blood. Apart from the killing of venomous snakes, the programme also taught soldiers to eat forest insects and to behead chickens.
In a press release, the US Marine Forces (Pacific) said this joint military task was the biggest exercise of its kind and demonstrated the United States' commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. The Huffington Post states the exercise was part of Operation Cobra Gold, the 32nd edition of international exercises hosted by the Thais.
The training exercises also included lessons in jungle warfare and environment training with helicopters and boats, to enhance small units' tactics. Other elements were helping soldiers to identify edible plants and locate clean drinking water.
The Post's report quotes Thai Special Forces Master Sgt 2nd Class Rittichai Soontorn as saying the purpose of the training was not to kill snakes and wild animals: "Exerting unnecessary energy hunting in a survival scenario is not using good logic when plants are the easiest source of food to acquire in the jungle."
It should be noted, though, that the consumption of a cobra's blood is a traditional custom in this part of the world. Apart from anything else, it is believed to have medicinal properties and also act as an aphrodisiac.
And it wasn't all about blood and gore. The soldiers also provided community service - they helped build a school in the Trat region of Thailand.
The annual operation is to mark the US armed force's 180 years of association with Thailand. The Asian country has been a key ally in the US' Asian activities and aided them during their war against Vietnam.