Ants are one of the few insects found almost anywhere on the planet except on small, remote islands. The ice of the Antarctic is not a favorable environment for these insects either. Many articles describe the ants’ incredible strength and endurance. Also, insects are involved in many processes that are helpful to our livelihood. For example, ants help disperse plant seeds. Insects are an essential link in the food chain, and some become prey for others. In this article, I will talk about animals that eat ants.
Ants live mainly underground and can fend for themselves when they congregate. Some animals avoid them because they cannot tolerate the acid that insects produce. Others do not mind eating insects from time to time or as a staple diet.
List of all animals and insects that eat ants
Those who eat ants include mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. Below you can find a complete list of those who don’t mind eating ants from time to time or eat them daily.
- Poison dart frogs;
- Blind snakes;
- Narrow-mouthed toads;
- Horned lizards.
- Killer bugs;
- Wolf spiders;
- Phorid flies;
- Jumping spiders;
- Black bears;
- Sloth bears.
- Brahminy kites;
- Crimson birds;
Animals that have ants as their main food
Among the animals that eat ants are the so-called myrmecophagous. These are animals that have these insects as their main diet. I want to tell you more about some of these animals.
One of the most famous animals whose main diet consists of ants is the anteater. Animals with unusual physiques live in South and Central America. Nature has given them a long nose and sticky tongue, which allows mammals to enter an ant hill and eat insects in a few minutes.
These ant-eating mammals resemble an anteater with thick scales. One of their unusual abilities is the capacity to roll up into a ball. The animals are found in Africa and Asia. They have massive claws capable of tearing through the bark of trees, under which insects often hide. They are also capable of digging in the ground and penetrating anthills.
The animals live in the sulfurous Americas. They need to eat nutritious food to keep them alive during the winter. Ants are high in protein, so they are part of the essential diet of bears. Animals can eat them individually or find them on fruit, oysters, etc.
This bear can be easily identified by its bizarre appearance. Also, its diet is very different from other representatives of these animals. The sloth bear is a bear who eats ants and other insects. It is difficult for insects to hide from the strong paws of these animals. Thanks to their claws, bears can dig up anthills and take out insects with their paws.
That is the African version of the anteater. It refers to animals that eat ants and termites. It also has an elongated snout and a long sticky tongue with which it can pick up insects from its holes. Furthermore, it can also get food thanks to its massive claws, which it can use to tear up the ground.
These animals live in Southeast Asia. Orangutans spend a lot of time on trees and feed on insects that hide in hollow trees or run up and down branches. The orangutan waits for ants to gather in a flock and grabs them with a graceful movement of its paw. If it needs to get insects out of the hollow, it uses a stick. By eating insects, the orangutan replenishes its body’s supply of vital proteins.
Do people eat ants?
The body of an insect contains antioxidants and other beneficial substances. Because of their properties, insects can replace pork or beef. Although scientists have repeatedly proven the benefits of eating insects, people do not consume them everywhere. However, in some countries in Asia, Mexico, or the USA, ants are considered a delicacy. They are used as a condiment in dishes and stir-fried. You can find dried insects spiced similarly to chips on the market.
Which ants eat other ants
There are several thousand species of ants in the world. These insects often show wonders of cohesion. But they can also compete with each other, capturing other individuals and taking them as slaves. Not surprisingly, in such a complex life structure of ants, there are cases where they eat each other. For example, fire ants are capable of attacking members of their species. Army ants eat the larvae of other ant species.
Ants in Your Garden
On the one hand, these insects are beneficial. For example, they fluff up the soil. Insects help minerals penetrate deep into the ground, not just stay on the surface. They also eat the larvae of other insects such as aphids. Aphids are known to cause severe damage to plants.
In general, ants are harmless insects that carry out their daily routine without harming humans. But sometimes, the appearance of insects in the garden can turn into a total invasion. In addition to knowing how to deal with them, it will be helpful for you to learn about the birds, animals, and insects that feed on ants. That’s why if you notice an animal that eats pests in your garden, just let it do its thing. So, what eats ants in the garden?
- Antlions. These insects get their name because they prefer to eat ants specifically. Antlions might resemble dragonflies in appearance. If you notice bizarre patterns on the ground, it might be the work of the paws of these insects. That is how they burrow into the sand, so they can occasionally attack an ant that goes for the food, without suspecting anything.
- Spiders. These insects scare many people with their appearance. In addition, their web can be a nuisance. However, give spiders a chance if pests infest your garden. Some of them are good insect hunters.
- Paussinae beetles. These insects are not among the aggressive eaters of ants. They live near colonies and can make pests’ behavior milder. They spray a special substance that makes the ants calmer. These bugs can also eat ant larvae and partially control their reproduction.
- Oogpister bugs. These bugs eat ants to build up their acid. Then they can use it as a deterrent against other predators.
- Caterpillars. They usually live near ants. First, they have protective armor that keeps the ants from attacking. Second, the caterpillars themselves prefer to feed on young ants.
- Lizards. These cute reptiles won’t do much damage to your yard. They will move nimbly around the garden in search of their favorite delicacy, ants.
- Hedgehogs. We often admire these animals, especially when we see them in our yards. Now you can be even more excited about their appearance. After all, the main diet of hedgehogs is insects, particularly ants.
FAQ About Animals That Eat Ants
This section provides brief answers to popular questions about ants. But I have answered them in more detail in the article, so you can go back and read them.
How many animals eat ants?
There are dozens of animal species that eat ants. It’s not just mammals such as bears, anteaters, pangolins, and coyotes. Ants’ predators include reptiles, birds, and even ants themselves.
What animal can control ants?
When it comes to pests in your garden, other creatures eat these insects. In this way, they can affect the reproduction of ants. These include spiders, some beetles, lizards, and snails.
What are ants’ biggest predators?
Unless you count humans, who, as I have told you, consume insects in large numbers in some regions, the big predators of ants are bears, orangutans, and coyotes.
Ants Are Significant to Our Environment
Now you know the important role of small insects like ants in the food chain. They eat the pests that damage the environment. They also help saturate the soil with beneficial minerals and oxygen. But they can be a target for many mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. If you’ve ever been bothered by ants in the garden, now seeing a hedgehog or a spider will make you happy. After reading this article, you understand that they help control insects’ spread in your yard.
Do you know any interesting facts about animals that eat ants?
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