AWESOME ANT FACTS
Ants get a bit of a bad press. But, give us a break. We're pretty cool creatures once you get to know us.
Did you know that:
* We live in colonies, which vary in size and can be very crowded, housing up to millions of members.
* In 2002, scientists discovered a super colony stretching 3,600 miles long from Italy to Spain consisting of billions of ants in a network of nests. Wow! And you think your house is crowded.
* Most ants dig some sort of mound in the dirt or sand with a system of underground rooms connected by tunnels. We use our saliva to make the dirt walls of the tunnels hard. Rooms in the nest consist of a chamber for the Queen, whose job in life is to make babies, also nurseries for the young, to store food, for waste, and rooms where the workers can rest.
* We are really friendly guys. What you Two Legs call social insects and every ant has a job. We work as a team to survive. Workers build and maintain the nest, they take rubbish from the nest and put it in a rubbish dump outside, they care for the Queen and the young, and forage for food. Colonies even have undertakers who are responsible for removing dead ants from the nest. Bigger ants with big heads in the Ant Kingdom are soldiers. They are good fighters and their job is to protect the nest. They've been known to use their big heads to block the entrance to the nest to keep intruders out.
* We are one the world’s strongest creatures in relation to our size. We can carry between 20 and 30 times our own body weight That's like you lifting a fully grown African elephant.
* Our bodies are pretty cool, too. We have six strong legs that help us run very fast and powerful jaws at the side of our head that open and shut sideways like scissors. An antennae is attached to our head. We use these two feelers to communicate with each other; to hear, taste, touch and smell. And we have two stomachs. One to store food for ourselves and the other a social stomach to store food to share with our nest mates. How about that? Generous as well as good looking.
* And here is something really cool. We were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth and today we can be found on every continent – except ANTarctica. Get it! ANTartica.
There are more than 10,000 species of ants around the world. Here’s a few of them:
* Pavement Ants make their nests in or under the cracks in pavements.
* Red or Fire Ants have a painful, fiery sting
* Slavemaker Ants raid the nests of other ants and steal their young, which they force to work as slaves in their nests.
* Leafcutter Ants use their sharp jaws to cut leaves, which they turn into pulp to make fungus gardens to feed their nest mates.
* The giant Dinosaur Ant of Peru is one of the largest
in the world, measuring about 3cm long.
You can find out more about what we get up to by reading a sample of ANTics HERE.