09:35 EST, 25 August 2012 | 10:55 EST, 25 August 2012
To most of us, the thought of munching through this festering mound of dried dead caterpillars would be the stuff of stomach churning nightmares.
But one man was so determined that his rare but banned ‘delicacy’ would not be taken off him, he stuffed his mouth full and chomped through hundreds of the crunchy larvae in front of stunned airport border guards, who had discovered the haul in his luggage at Switzerland’s EuroAirport outside Basel.
African Adrian Onobanjo, 47, had more than 15 kilos of dead black caterpillars in plastic bags hidden in his luggage when he was stopped and searched after arriving on a plane from Togo.
Hundreds of black caterpillars were found in the traveller’s suitcase before he started to munch his way through the mound, some of which were still moving
Border guard spokesman Patrick Gantenbein said the foul smelling mound of creatures was still moving as some were still alive.
The large black caterpillars are considered a delicacy in some parts of Africa
He said: ‘Even border guards hardened by the bizarre things we have had to deal with were shocked by this particular case.
‘The man obviously knew he shouldn’t have been trying to bring them into the country as they were hidden under a false bottom in his suitcase and only discovered with an x-ray.
‘He tried to tell us that it was a special type of root, but some of them were still moving.’
Border Guard section chief Martin Leuenberger who was on duty at the time told the Austrian Times the smell from the caterpillars that were mostly dead was ‘pretty unbearable’.
When they told the man the caterpillars would be kept and destroyed the stunned guards said he grabbed as many as he could and started munching them.
The remainder of the caterpillars were stored in a sealed container in the fridge overnight and were later destroyed.
Mr Gantenbein said the man had told him the caterpillars were for personal use and that he should be allowed to keep them and eat them as a snack as he was ‘addicted to them’.
Caterpillars are considered a delicacy in parts of Africa.
After harvesting the caterpillars which sit on trees, the guts are removed by squeezing.
The sausage like left overs are then boiled and left for a day to dry out in the sun and once dried are used for cooking.
When cooked the worms are said to be juicy and salty or if eaten dried have a dry, gritty texture and slightly meaty taste.
A caterpillar similar to those found stashed in a secret suitcase compartment
The heaving mass of larvae was discovered in luggage by border guards at Switzerland’s EuroAirport outside Basel (above)