Ants are the most common insects on the planet, and they’re found almost everywhere. Besides, ants have adapted to live in all climatic conditions.
Obviously, being so common across the world, ants are a popular food source among many animal species.
Do you know that hundreds of species across the globe eat different species of ants, and some of them even survive solely on an ant-exclusive diet?
Animals that eat ants and termites:
- Jumping Spider
- Horned Lizard
- Blind Snake
- House Gecko
- Giant Anteater
- Fire Ant
Besides, due to their abundance, ants are a reliable food source for numerous animals.
Moreover, the group of organisms, called Myrmecophagous, have an exclusive feeding behavior of only consuming ants and termites.
We’ve made a comprehensive list of animals that include ants and termites in their diets. Check them out, as some of them may even help to keep your garden ant-free!
Table of Contents
- Here are 13 animals that consume ants and termites.
- Here are 4 birds that commonly consume ants:
Here are 13 animals that consume ants and termites.
Antlions may look tiny, but their larvae can be one of the most voracious predators, especially when it comes to them preying on ants.
Antlions are commonly found in dry habitats around forest floors, farmlands, and sandy soils such as beaches.
They have long clubbed antennae which is very useful not only for feeling the surface of an object but also for detecting the movements of their prey.
Adult antlions are nocturnal creatures and it’s almost rare to see one that’s active during the day.
However, they’re clever enough to remain hidden by burying themselves in their dug-up pits underground.
Ants who fall into this pit find it difficult to come out, and hence, these poor fellows are trapped and have easily become prey to antlions who attack them stealthily.
2. Jumping Spider
Although they may sound scary, apparently, the jumping spiders are in fact, the least scary species in this entire list.
These spiders are even considered as cute creatures among certain pet owners, but don’t let this adorable creature fool you.
Jumping spiders are excellent hunters with remarkable navigation and visual capabilities.
These agile jumpers are commonly found in humid areas such as tropical forested regions as well as around shrublands.
The common prey for jumping spiders is ants and termites and the field of vision displayed from these spiders helps them catch their prey with ease.
Additionally, since flying termites are easily caught by spiders that build webs, jumping spiders are unable to catch flying termites because they rarely use silk and this prevents them from building webs.
So instead of spinning webs, they’ll actively hunt their prey using their keen eyesight as well as employing rapid sideways and backward movements over short distances.
These creatures also like to eat moisture ants because they’re a readily available food source that lives in humid tropical areas.
These species feed exclusively on ants, termites as well as cucumbers, surprisingly.
There’s even a special kind of cucumber that’s consumed by this creature, which is why it’s named the Aardvark cucumber.
Aardvarks are commonly found in Africa, and they’re also known as the African ant bear.
A lot of African folklore has featured this anteater since they’re quite famous in these regions
Do you remember the cartoon Arthur? Then you must be aware of the fact that the main character is an aardvark.
Aardvarks spend almost all day sleeping underground, emerging only when there’s something worth eating nearby.
4. Horned Lizard
Horned lizards, also known as horn toads or horny toads, are native to Mexico and the Southcentral U.S.
They’re commonly found in loamy soils and desert areas with lots of loose sands
These reptiles are insectivores, and hence, their staple food includes various kinds of insects, including ants and other bugs.
The texas horned Lizards have the ability to include about 70% of harvester ants in their diets.
They also consume other insects such as spiders, termites, and woodlouse such as sowbugs.
Do you know that most species of horned lizards can squirt blood from their eyes? Doesn’t it sound scary?
They do this as a defense mechanism to keep predators away.
Also, their blood includes a repulsive chemical odor that is strong enough to fend off any approaching predator.
5. Blind Snake
Blind snakes are surprisingly hard to find, even though these species have a good global distribution.
Blind snakes are one of the smallest vertebrates on earth, and some of their lengths aren’t large since a coiled-up blind snake would be around 5 inches long!
Many species of blind snakes feed on large amounts of ants, termites, and their larvae.
These tiny snakes are known to live underground. Interestingly, they use sweat glands to follow the scent trails to track a path, such as a way leading to a nest.
The good news is that these snakes aren’t dangerous to pets or humans.
6. House Gecko
House geckos are another popular non-venomous pet reptile and they can be kept as pets because they rarely bite humans.
However, they’ll often attack and bite if provoked.
Like horned lizards, these animals feed primarily on ants as well as termites.
However, it’s worth noting that geckos don’t just eat ants; they’ll eat any insect that they can catch.
House geckos are native to tropical areas in Asia. They’re commonly found in habitats with humid temperatures even though they can thrive under several conditions.
Do you know that these creatures are actually helping to keep your homes free from ants and termites? Well, at least to some extent, if not all!
This makes them a great form of natural pest control to have around your home, especially when you’ve just moved into a new area.
7. Giant Anteater
Giant Anteaters can be recognized instantly with their long snout and bushy tails.
Although the giant anteater lives in tropical forests throughout Central and South America, they prefer areas that contain large amounts of trees and shrubs as well as dense undergrowth where there are plenty of insects for them to eat.
Researchers have found that giant anteaters prefer living near water sources such as rivers or streams so they can have access to freshwater.
Although they are called anteaters, these species also love to munch on various termites.
Their powerful claws are made to rip open the hard mounds of termite nests and they use their long and sticky tongues to collect different termites and ants.
Furthermore, anteaters can swallow insects as a whole since they lack teeth to chew with.
These insectivores commonly prey on ants. In fact, these fast bird species can catch a significant number of ants.
Wrens can survive in almost any kind of habitat, and they’re one of the most commonly found birds in both the North and South Americas.
This short-winged songbird can be easily identified by its small, compact size along with its curved beak and mid to dark brown color pattern.
Pangolins look like a combination of an armadillo and an anteater. These species have armored scales covered all over their body.
Besides, they have long tails and narrow snouts, that consist of long and sticky tongues which are specifically needed when consuming ants, termites as well as other crawling insects.
Sadly, these species are being threatened by poachers because some of their body parts are being used for their medicinal properties.
10. Fire Ant
You heard that right! One of the most popular predators of ants is other ants! And fire ants, in particular, are the most common predators of other ant species.
Moreover, many non-native fire ants in the southern U.S. are wiping off the ant population rapidly, as the weaker ant species have little to no resistance or defense against their predators.
Fire ants are commonly found in mounds around dry soil or decaying plants and they feed on both plants and animals, especially dead insects.
These red ants are also known for consuming caterpillars, bees as well as termites.
Orangutans are endangered species found in the rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo. They’re known for eating numerous insects, such as ants and termites.
These mammals have the ability to use tools like sticks to extract termites and ants from their colony for food.
Apart from ants and termites, orangutans also feed on fruits, nuts, bark, and other parts of the plant.
In short, these animals get their food right from the tree they live in.
Yes, ants are quite common as a food source for many humans in some regions across the world.
Although a majority of the world finds insect diets unappealing or inappropriate, ants are actually consumed in many cultures.
You’ll be surprised to know that there are entire ant recipes in some parts of the world.
For example, in Mexico, ants are eaten after being coated in chocolate. They also consume it as a deep-fried snack. Some people also buy roasted or dried ants and eat them like chips.
Some U.S. stores, including Amazon, have several flavored ant snacks.
Aside from that, ants are often roasted with vinegar and salt and eaten during feasts in Colombia.
According to Darwin, birds can grow the ability to catch numerous insects accurately and quickly using their long and pointed beaks.
Many bird species in the world include ants as a major portion of their diets.
Another interesting fact about some bird species is that they rub dead ants on their bodies to repel predators – a process known as “anting.”
However, when it comes to termites, these insects are normally consumed by tropical birds.
Here are 4 birds that commonly consume ants:
There are over 210 species of antbirds, which are native to tropical areas in Central America and South America.
Antbirds generally survive on small insects and ants. Most of these species hunt through branches for all kinds of insects.
These birds have long and sharp beaks that are designed to pick insects off the trees or even out of the litter.
Antpittas are related to antbirds, and the two are almost of the same size, however, antpittas usually spend more time on the forestry floor.
These species have a pale coloration that makes it easy for them to blend into the forest floor easily.
Due to their slightly longer legs and shorter tails, antpittas can hunt ants on the ground.
These are a kind of woodpeckers found in North and South America. Unlike many other woodpeckers, these species usually hunt on different trees.
Additionally, flickers are also known for hunting insects on the ground level more frequently.
By this, we can safely say that flickers eat more ants than other woodpeckers.
The ones living in desert regions also build their nest in cacti while hunting for different insects on the ground.
Sparrows are one of the most common birds that we can see almost every time we look out of the window. This tiny bird is now seen in almost all corners of the globe.
The house sparrow is likely to feed more on seeds and grains, but they wouldn’t hesitate to consume a pile of unprotected ants if they have the opportunity.
In other words, sparrows can help to keep your backyard and garden ant-free.