Amazon villagers nearly killed two young men with venomous ants, tying them to a tree swarming with the insects for allegedly stealing three motorcycles, Bolivian authorities said.
One of the men remained in intensive care while the other had required dialysis for kidney failure, Dr Roberto Paz told reporters in Cochabamba.
The venomous ants, of the pseudomyrmex triplarinus species, live in symbiosis with the triplaris tree variety. Their venom has anti-inflammatory properties and is used as a traditional cure for arthritis.
A sister of one of the men told Radio Fides that villagers in Ayopaya held the two men, aged 18 and 19, for nearly three days, freeing them on Saturday after relatives paid 3,700 dollars (£2,200) as compensation for the motorcycles.
Otherwise, she said, the two would have been killed.