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How Do Ants Survive Floods?

Ants can join together and form rafts to escape floods, sometimes including several thousand ants in a single raft. This works because an ant's exoskeleton is slightly water-repellent, so when thousands of them team up, they can float on top of the water without even getting wet, because the ants at the bottom of the raft can push against the water without breaking its surface tension, forming it into a bubble underneath them. Ants can stay in these raft formations for weeks, if necessary.

More facts about ants:

  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world.

  • A colony of 40,000 ants has the same number of brain cells as one human.

  • Ant colonies form their own garbage dumps, with specific ants in charge of removing waste from inside the colony and taking it to the dump.
Discussion Comments
By RoyalSpyder — On Sep 20, 2014
@Euroxati - You do bring up some good points about ants and how similar they are to us. It's actually pretty scary when you think about it. Just my opinion, but I think one reason why we tend to underestimate ants is because whenever they're discussed, we only think about them individually, but not when they form together as one.

Actually, that can apply to many things, and it's especially important in this case. When separated, ants can't do much of anything, and are extremely vulnerable. However, when combined, they're a force to be reckoned with. Not only can they work together during the rain to ensure that no one drowns, but taking in the fact that one colony also has about as many brain cells as a human, you can certainly see they're quite intelligent. It really makes me wonder what they're full potential is.

By Euroxati — On Sep 19, 2014

I'm pretty sure that ants surviving floods is something that most people have thought about, especially at a very young age, as that certainly was the case for me. I mean, considering how whenever it rains, water soaks into the ground, you would think that most ants would drown, since they don't have a way to defend themselves. However, this doesn't seem to be the case here, as the tenacity of ants strikes once again. On a final note, after reading some aspects of this article, has anyone else noticed the somewhat unusual similarities between ants and humans? Perhaps all these years, we've been underestimating them, as their strength and determination proves to be absolutely phenomenal.

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