Do ants eat meat?

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Marlene Gildenhuys

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Do ants eat meat?
« on: 06/09/2008 15:45:01 »
Marlene Gildenhuys  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Chris

I enjoy listen to your input on the Redi Direko show, listen to it when I can.

A number of friends and I have been baffled: We have always been taught that ants love sugar and all things sweet.

The ants in Cape Town or should I rephrase it in my area, seems to have changed their interest to water and meat.

Have they been genetically re-engineered? Just a joke.

Thanks for your valuable inputs.

Take care

What do you think?


Offline JimBob

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Do ants eat meat?
« Reply #1 on: 06/09/2008 16:21:11 »
No, just a different species of ants. Army ants, for example, make their living traveling through the jungle, killing, dismembering and eating anything even close to their size. This included birds and mammals that cannot get out of their way. In Kenya, human deaths have been reported. Babies left alone and persons who have gotten so drunk they pass out have been killed by these ants. The ants invade the air passages and essentially choke the victim to death, all the while eating the person from the inside out.

Where I live, there are red Argentinean ants that were imported by stowing away on cargo ships that were carrying exotic plants. They have taken over ALL the ecological slots of carnivorous ants that were formerly filled by several different species here in Texas.

They are a real pain, especially if you get swarmed and bitten by them. It happened to me once when my auto was hit by another car during a rain storm, resulting in me being deposited in the fencing that lined the side of the highway. It disturbed a colony of these ants that was the size of a small South African termite mound that my car was over and before I could get out of the fencing and the brush I needed to be treated for the thousands of bites at a hospital emergency room. I was in sever pain for over a week and on a lot of prednisone to suppress the allergic reactions the toxins caused. If I had been a deer fawn left alone by its mother as she went to feed, I would have died.

It is why we call them fire ants.

The mind is like a parachute. It works best when open.  -- A. Einstein