What eats ants? The obvious answer to the question is the anteater, but did you know that there are numerous other creatures from many different animal groups that eat ants as a regular part of their diet? Although you might not want these other creatures around any more than you want ants around, these other animals can come in handy when you are trying to deal with an ant infestation in or around your space.
You may not be aware that nearly every animal that eats insects and can fit an ant into its jaws eats ants. Here are some of the insects and small animals that eat ants on a regular basis:
- Other insects such as beetles, caterpillars and flies
- Spiders, such as black widow spiders and jumping spiders
- Snails and other hard-shelled organisms
- Fish and lizards
- Birds, such as sparrows, grouse and starlings
- Mammals, such as bears and coyotes
- Certain types of fungal infections, which have been documented to consume ants
Some animals have strange ways of eating ants that help them to survive and procreate. Some species of flies will lay their eggs on the bodies of ants, and then when their larvae are born, they will eat the ants around them. Spiders will often attract ants into their web and then spin them into little bite-sized morsels with their sticky weaponry. Bears will sometimes consume ants as a sweet treat when they discover a stash of wild honey.
Even some humans have been known to eat ants. While they are too small to be a very good food source, they are high in protein, and some varieties such as the lemon ant, which can be found in Ecuador and other countries in South America, are quite highly prized.
It might come as a surprise that one of the creatures that eats ants is, you guessed it, other ants. Fire ants are known to attack other fire ants, and army ants thrive on eating the larvae of various other species of ants.
If ants are at the top of your list of annoyances, it may help you to think about the fact that you are not the only one trying to get rid of them. Ants are a major food source for many small animals, which is one way that nature helps us to deal with the peskiness of pests.