Posts tagged ‘Ants’

What is a giant anteater?

Giant Anteater

The giant anteater is an animal that lives in the forests of tropical America.  This toothless animal feeds mainly on ants and termites.  Its tube-like snout is more than a foot long, but its mouth is no wider than the head of a thumbtack.

The anteater gets its meal by ripping open ant and termite nests with its strong claws. Then it pokes out its long, sticky tongue and slurps up the insects it uncovers.  It may eat many thousands of insects at one meal.  The anteater has no permanent home.  It wanders alone searching for food, stepping only to curl up and sleep. – Dick Rogers

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Why do ants follow ant trails?

We are all familiar with ant trails, traced by those long lines of scurrying ants.  If you should follow such a trail, you would find that it leads to a good supply of food that the ants are collecting for  the ant nest.

Most common ants see poorly or not at all.  Blind ants get along very well by using the two “feelers,” or antennae, that wave constantly from their head to smell, taste and touch everything about them.

To collect food, they follow “odor trails”  left by other ants.

Ant Trails

When an ant finds food it becomes excited and hurries back to the nest, leaving an odor trail for the ants at home to follow.

Soon there is a steady trail of ants going to and from the new food supply.

Ants do not live and work in groups called “colonies.”

Each ant has its own duties.  An ant colony is made up mostly of worker ants.

Some do the housekeeping and take care of the queen and the baby ants.  Some defend the nest against intruders, while others gather food.

What are harvester ants?

305611645_VJKkC-SWe are all familiar with ants.  Ants are found scattered far and wide over the world.

There are red ants and lack ants.  Others can be brown or yellow.

Some ants are hunters.  Others may be farmers, dairymen or carpenters.

Ants known as harvester ants are large, long-legged red or black ants that live in warm, dry, sandy places.

They get their name because they harvest, or gather, seeds of weeds and other plants and store them in their underground nests for a future supply of food.

They have large, crushing jaws for breaking seeds.

To build rooms underground to live in and sore seeds, the harvesters carry grains of sand outside and pile them into a big outhill over the nest.

The harvester’s home is easy to spot because of a trash heap of discarded seed husks piled outside the entrance.

If stored seeds get wet, the ants spread them in the sun to dry.

Photo courtesy:  alexwild.smugmug

What is a pangolin?

Pangolin

Pangolin (pronounced pang GOH lin) is a strange animal inhabiting the warm parts of Asia and Africa.  Pangolin are perhaps better known as “scaly ant-eaters,” for they are just that.

The pangolin’s body is covered with sharp, horny scales that give the animal the appearance of a large pine cone.  The pangolin wanders about at night in search of anthills and termite nests, which it rips open with its strong, sharp claws.

Then it pushes out its sticky, wormlike tongue which may be a foot long.  It licks up the ants it uncovers and slurps the ants into its toothless mouth.  It may eat many thousands of ants at one meal.

When danger threatens the pangolin rolls itself up into a tight ball so heavily armored that few enemies can harm it.  When rolled up, the pangolin is almost impossible to straighten out.  Pangolins may grow to be from 3 to 5 feet long. – Dick Rogers