25 Animals That Eat Ants and Their Pictures

Animals That Eat Ants
Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

When it comes to animals that eat ants, the list is surprisingly long! From small mammals to large reptiles, many species of animals have ants on the menu.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the animals that consume ants worldwide, from the exotic to the common.

1. Anteaters

by bk1bennett is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Anteaters are some of the most well-known animals that eat ants worldwide.

These incredible creatures are found in Central and South America and are famous for their long, thin snouts, which they use to slurp up ants and other insects.

Anteaters have an insatiable appetite for ants and can eat up to 30,000 insects daily.

Interestingly, their sticky tongues can extend up to two feet long, making them excellent ant-catching machines. Anteaters are fascinating animals and an essential part of the ecosystem.

2. Aardvarks

by Theo Stikkelman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Aardvarks are unique and fascinating animals that eat ants. In fact, they are known for their exceptional skills in finding and consuming these tiny insects.

Aardvarks are found in different parts of Africa, where they live in burrows and spend most of their time searching for ant nests.

Their long, sticky tongues enable them to catch the ants, which they swallow whole easily. 

Aside from ants, aardvarks also eat termites, which make up a significant part of their diet. Their diet of insects reflects not only their preferences but also their adaptations to their environment.

These animals that eat ants have long snouts and strong claws, which help them to dig into ant nests and termite mounds. 

Interestingly, aardvarks are solitary creatures and only come together during mating season.

They have poor eyesight but possess an excellent sense of smell, which they use to locate ants and termites.

It’s also worth noting that aardvarks play a critical role in the ecosystem by helping to control the populations of ants and termites.

3. Pangolins

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Pangolins are a group of eight different species of mammals found in Africa and Asia.

Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolins got their name from their tough, overlapping scales that act as armor against predators.

But these scaly creatures are not only protected from their enemies, but they also feed on them. Pangolins are primarily insectivores, and their diet mainly consists of ants and termites.

Pangolins have an extremely long, sticky tongue which they use to reach deep inside ant hills or termite mounds to collect their prey.

They can eat up to 70 million ants and termites a year! Pangolins have poor eyesight and rely mostly on their keen sense of smell to locate their food.

Like anteaters and aardvarks, pangolins have no teeth. They use their sticky tongue and strong stomach muscles to crush their prey into a pulp before swallowing it whole.

After eating a large meal, pangolins often need to rest for a few days while their digestive system breaks down the tough exoskeleton of their prey.

Unfortunately, pangolins are highly endangered due to illegal hunting and trade. In some parts of Asia, their scales are used in traditional medicine, while their meat is considered a delicacy.

The illegal trade of pangolin meat and scales has caused their populations to decline rapidly.

It’s essential to protect these unique animals so they can continue to play their important role in controlling ant and termite populations.

4. Bears

by Tambako the Jaguar is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Believe it or not, bears also have a taste for ants! In fact, many species of bears will consistently scavenge for ants in the wild.

Black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears habitually dig up ant nests and feast on the tasty insects inside.

Bears are opportunistic eaters, meaning they consume various food sources, including insects, when their usual food supply is scarce.

Ants are particularly high in protein, which makes them a great snack for bears looking to build up their energy reserves.

While bears are certainly capable of eating ants, they are not necessarily as specialized in their diet as other ant-eating animals like anteaters and aardvark.

Bears may only consume ants occasionally, depending on the availability of other food sources.

Overall, it’s just another reminder of how diverse the diets of animals in the wild can be! Who would have thought such a fierce and powerful animal, like a bear, would enjoy a snack of tiny ants?

5. Sloth Bears

Sloth Bears
by the_great_nanners is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sloth bears are a species of bear that are native to the Indian subcontinent.

They are opportunistic eaters and will consume whatever food source is available to them at any given time.

This includes ants, which are a common part of their diet. Sloth bears are especially fond of termites and ants and will dig into termite mounds or ant hills to get to their prey. 

Sloth bears have several physical adaptations that help them to eat ants and termites. They have long, curved claws perfect for digging into insect nests.

They also have long, narrow snouts that allow them to access the tiny insects inside the nest without getting bitten. 

While sloth bears may seem like they have an odd diet, ants and termites actually provide them with important nutrients that they need to survive.

Ant and termite nests are rich sources of protein and other essential nutrients. This makes them an important part of the sloth bear’s diet, especially when other food sources are scarce. 

Despite their unusual diet, sloth bears are important predators in their ecosystem. By eating ants and termites, they help to keep the populations of these insects in check.

This is important, as ants and termites can cause significant damage to crops and other vegetation if their populations get out of control.

So, while sloth bears may seem like they have a strange diet, they are actually playing an important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

6. Antpittas

by VSmithUK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Antpittas are a group of small to medium-sized birds that are common in Central and South America.

These birds have a unique adaptation that allows them to feed on ants and other small insects found on the forest floor.

Antpittas have a specialized bill that is short and pointed, making it easier for them to catch and eat ants.

These animals that eat ants spend much of their time searching for ant colonies on the forest floor.

They use their strong legs to scratch through leaf litter, uncovering ants and other insects.

Antpittas have also been known to follow army ant swarms, taking advantage of the disturbed insects flushed from the ground.

Antpittas eat different species of ants, including bullet ants and leaf-cutter ants. They also feed on other small invertebrates, such as beetles and spiders.

Their diet of ants provides them with essential nutrients, including protein, which is crucial for their growth and survival.

Interestingly, antpittas are not the only birds that feed on ants. Several other bird species also consume ants, such as woodpeckers and strikes.

However, antpittas are one of the few species that have adapted specifically to feed on ants.

7. Narrow-Mouthed Toads

Narrow-Mouthed Toads
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Narrow-Mouthed Toad is another surprising addition to the list of animals that eat ants.

These small amphibians thrive in various parts of the world, including North and South America, Africa, and Asia.

Despite their small size, they have a voracious appetite for ants and other small insects.

Narrow-Mouthed Toads have a specialized feeding behavior called tongue flipping, which helps them catch their prey.

They stick out their long, sticky tongue, lined with mucus, and flip it back into their mouth to capture any nearby ants.

This technique allows them to consume several ants in a single feeding quickly.

Interestingly, the Narrow-Mouthed Toad’s diet primarily consists of ants, even though they have a wide range of other insects to choose from.

This is likely due to ants’ high protein content and nutritional value, making them an ideal food source for these tiny toads.

While they may not be the most well-known animals on this list, Narrow-Mouthed Toads play an important role in controlling ant populations in their habitats.

Their feeding habits also contribute to the ecological balance of their environments, making them a vital part of many ecosystems worldwide.

8. Antbirds

by jquental is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Antbirds are a family of birds well known for their appetite for ants and other insects.

There are over 200 species of antbirds worldwide, and they all share a common feature: they are animals that eat ants. 

These birds have specialized beaks and talons designed to pick up and crush ant colonies. They often forage on the ground in the forests, where they search for ant trails and nests.

Antbirds use their keen eyesight and hearing to detect ant activity, and they will quickly pounce on the prey once spotted,

The antbirds are fascinating to watch and play a crucial role in regulating ant populations in their respective ecosystems.

They are natural predators that help to control the growth of ants, which are often considered pests that cause damage to crops and gardens.

Some of the most well-known species of antbirds include the Bicolored Antbird, the Ocellated Antbird, and the Spot-Winged Antbird.

Each species has a unique feeding behavior and preference for particular ant species.

9. Robins

by Gareth1953 All Right Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0

You may be surprised to learn that some species of robins actually have a taste for ants!

In particular, the European robin and American robin have been known to seek out and consume ants as part of their diet.

While robins are known for their love of fruits and worms, they will also eat a variety of insects, including ants.

Ants provide an excellent source of protein and other nutrients for robins, especially during breeding season when they need to provide for their young.

Robins typically hunt for ants on the ground, using their keen eyesight to spot them. They will also follow ant trails to find nests and colonies.

Once they have found a colony, they will use their sharp beaks to extract the ants from the ground.

It’s not just robins that have a taste for ants – many other bird species also eat ants, including woodpeckers, swallows, and wrens.

It just goes to show that even tiny insects like ants can play an important role in the food chain!

10. Ravens

by Davmi Pics is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Believe it or not, even ravens are among the animals that eat ants!

While they may not be the first animals that come to mind when you think of anteaters, these clever birds have been observed feasting on ants in the wild.

One reason ravens might eat ants is for the nutrients they provide. Ants are a good source of protein and may be particularly important for ravens during the breeding season when they need extra energy to raise their young.

In fact, some studies suggest that ants may even help to boost raven reproductive success.

Ravens also use ants for other purposes. For example, some researchers have reported seeing ravens using ants to clean their feathers and remove parasites.

In these cases, the ants are not necessarily being eaten but used for their natural cleansing properties.

While ravens may not be as well-known for eating ants as other animals like anteaters or aardvarks, they are still a fascinating example of the wide variety of creatures that rely on these tiny insects for survival.

Who knows what other unexpected animals might also be part of the club of animals that eat ants?

11. Woodpeckers

by cazalegg is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Believe it or not, woodpeckers are also part of the group of animals that eat ants.

While they are more commonly known for their wood-pecking abilities, these birds are actually opportunistic feeders and will also eat insects like ants.

In fact, the acorn woodpecker, a species native to North America, is known to eat ants as part of its varied diet.

Woodpeckers use their long, barbed tongues to extract ants from their nests and feed on the larvae of these insects.

It goes to show that when it comes to animals that eat ants, the list can be surprisingly diverse!

12. Brahminy Kites

Brahminy Kites
by Hari K Patibanda is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Brahminy Kites, also known as red-backed sea eagles, are found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

They are medium-sized birds of prey that mainly feed on fish, but they also have a taste for insects, including ants.

Brahminy Kites are known to hover over ant colonies, searching for prey. Once they spot a line of ants carrying food, they swoop down and catch them with their sharp talons. 

Brahminy Kites are adapted to their hunting techniques and have special adaptations to their talons.

They have rough, scaly soles that help them grip and hold onto prey. They also have a reversible outer toe that can turn around to give them a better grip on their prey.

Aside from their love for ants, Brahminy Kites are also important indicators of ecosystem health.

They are top predators and are essential in regulating fish populations and keeping coastal ecosystems in balance.

13. Flickers

by AcrylicArtist is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Flickers, also known as Northern Flickers or Colaptes auratus, are a type of woodpecker that feeds on ants and other insects.

They are commonly found in North and Central America and are known for their distinctive drumming sounds.

Flickers use their long, barbed tongues to reach into ant colonies and catch their prey. They also eat other insects, such as beetles and grasshoppers.

In addition to their insect diet, flickers also eat berries and nuts.

These birds are unique in their behavior, as they will often drum on wood or metal surfaces to establish their territory and attract a mate.

They are identifiable by their black and white speckled feathers and bright red patches on the back of their head.

While flickers may not be the most well-known ant-eating animals, they play an important role in controlling ant populations and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

Their drumming behavior also adds to the diversity and beauty of our natural world.

14. Sparrows

by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sparrows are small, common birds that are found all around the world. While they are mostly known for eating seeds and grains, some sparrow species have also been observed eating ants.

These little birds often hop along the ground, picking up individual ants and even entire ant colonies with their beaks.

Like other animals that eat ants, sparrows likely enjoy these insects’ high protein content and rich nutritional value.

They may also be attracted to the sweetness of ant larvae and the crunch of ant eggs.

While not all species of sparrows eat ants, those that do include the House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Chipping Sparrow.

These birds may be more likely to eat ants during food scarcity or when other sources are scarce.

Sparrows are just one of the many animals that eat ants in the wild. These tiny birds may seem like unlikely anteaters, but they have adapted to take advantage of this nutritious food source when available.

15. Ant-lions

by davidshort is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One of the most interesting animals that eat ants is ant-lions. Ant-lions are a type of insect that belongs to the family Myrmeleontidae.

They are common in sandy or dusty habitats, and their larvae make conical pits in the soil to trap ants and other small insects.

The pits dug by the larvae, which lie in wait at the bottom, are concealed under a thin layer of sand.

When an ant or other prey item falls in, the ant-lion quickly grabs it with its powerful jaws and drags it deeper into the pit.

The ant-lion then injects venom into its prey, paralyzing it before consuming it whole.

Ant-lions are not the only animals that eat ants. Many other insects and animals, such as spiders, birds, and lizards, also include ants in their diet.

Some animals have even evolved specialized adaptations for feeding on ants, such as anteaters, which have long snouts and tongues designed for capturing ants and termites.

Despite their small size, ants play an important role in many ecosystems as prey and predator.

Animals that eat ants help keep ant populations in check, while ants help control other insect populations and maintain soil health.

Whether they are digging pits to trap ants or using specialized adaptations to capture them, animals that eat ants are fascinating creatures that deserve our attention and respect.

16. Assassin Bugs

Assassin Bugs
by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Assassin bugs are a group of insects known for their predatory behavior. These insects are capable of feeding on a wide range of prey, including ants.

Their specialized feeding structure, the rostrum, allows them to pierce the exoskeletons of their prey and inject a toxic saliva that immobilizes and digests the ant’s insides.

One particular assassin bug species that feeds on ants is the Zelus renardii. These bugs are prevalent in gardens and fields where ants are abundant.

They are known for their distinctive green color and long, slender legs that help them move quickly and easily through foliage.

Despite their size, assassin bugs can take down much larger prey. They are skilled hunters and can track their prey using their powerful sense of smell.

Once they have located an ant colony, they will move in for the kill and feed on the ants one by one.

While assassin bugs may be beneficial in controlling ant populations in certain situations, they can also threaten other beneficial insects, such as honeybees and ladybugs.

As with any insect, it is important to consider the potential impact of introducing them into a garden or ecosystem before doing so.

Assassin bugs are fascinating predators that play an important role in the natural world.

Their ability to feed on ants and other pests makes them a valuable asset in pest management, and their unique adaptations and hunting strategies make them a captivating subject for nature enthusiasts.

17. Phorid Flies

Phorid Flies
by treegrow is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another interesting group of animals that eat ants is phorid flies. These small flies are also known as humpbacked flies or scuttle flies.

They are parasitic insects that lay their eggs inside ants. The larvae hatch and feed on the ant’s body from the inside, eventually killing it.

While phorid flies can be detrimental to ant colonies, they are also useful in controlling their populations.

In fact, Humans employ some species of phorid flies as biological control agents to manage ant infestations in homes and gardens.

One species of phorid fly, known as the ant-decapitating fly, is particularly gruesome in its approach to hunting ants.

As the name suggests, this fly decapitates ants and uses their bodies as a food source for their larvae.

It’s amazing to think that such tiny creatures can have such an impact on ant populations.

While phorid flies may not be the most pleasant creatures to consider, they are a crucial part of the natural world and play an important role in maintaining balance in ecosystems.

18. Snails

by Randy Son Of Robert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While you may not think of snails as ant-eating animals, some species of snails do feed on ants. One example is the land snail known as Helicarionidae, found in Australia and New Guinea.

These snails consume a variety of small invertebrates, including ants. 

Snails use their muscular foot to move around, and they can use these feet to reach ants and other small insects.

Once they capture their prey, they use a radula, a tongue-like structure covered in small teeth, to scrape and break down the ant’s exoskeleton. 

In addition to eating ants, snails can also serve as a food source for other ant-eating animals, such as birds and lizards.

While snails may not be the first animal that comes to mind when you think of ant predators, they are an interesting addition to the list of creatures that feed on these tiny insects.

19. Horned Lizards

Horned Lizards
by Paul and Jill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Horned lizards, also known as “horny toads,” are fascinating creatures in the western United States.

They are known for their unique appearance, which includes their spikey appearance and distinct horns on their heads.

While horned lizards may be visually interesting, they are also interesting for their eating habits. These creatures are primarily insectivores and have a special love for ants.

They are often referred to as “ant-lions” because of their ability to hunt and consume large amounts of ants.

Horned lizards use their keen senses to locate ant colonies. They can detect the scent of an ant colony from a distance and quickly navigate their way to the source of the scent.

Once they have located the colony, horned lizards use their long tongues to consume the ants quickly.

Horned lizards are particularly unique because they are immune to ant venom. This allows them to consume large amounts of ants without negative side effects.

In fact, some researchers believe that horned lizards have evolved to be able to consume ants specifically because of the abundance of this food source in their natural habitats.

Horned lizards are just one example of the many animals that eat ants. These creatures have evolved to have unique adaptations that allow them to hunt and consume ants in large quantities.

While their eating habits may seem strange to us, it is simply a way for these animals to survive and thrive in their natural environments.

20. Blind Snakes

Blind Snakes
by Thomas Brown is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Blind snakes are a family of non-venomous, legless reptiles found in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

These small and secretive creatures are often mistaken for worms or baby snakes, but they are unique animals adapted to live underground and feed on termites and ants.

In fact, blind snakes are one of the few animals that eat ants as their primary food source.

Blind snakes have several adaptations that allow them to hunt and eat ants. For example, their narrow, pointed snouts can easily penetrate the ant colonies and reach the hidden brood chambers.

They also have long, sticky tongues that can quickly capture and consume large numbers of ants in a single feeding.

Additionally, blind snakes are resistant to the painful bites of ants due to their tough scales and thick skin.

Although humans do not often see blind snakes, they play an important role in their ecosystems as natural pest controllers.

By eating ants and other insects, they help regulate these creatures’ populations and prevent them from damaging crops and gardens.

Moreover, blind snakes provide food for other predators, such as birds and small mammals, that depend on them for their survival.

21. Poison Dart Frogs

Poison Dart Frogs
by GrrlScientist is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Poison dart frogs are known for their vibrant colors and potent toxins. However, did you know that they also feed on ants?

These tiny amphibians have a diverse diet that includes small insects, such as ants, and even larger prey, like spiders and beetles.

Their diet heavily depends on their size and habitat. Smaller poison dart frogs feed mostly on ants and termites, while larger ones may feed on larger insects and even small vertebrates like lizards.

The strawberry poison dart frog, found in Central and South America, is known to prey on small snakes.

Poison dart frogs are not only fascinating for their diet but also for their unique adaptation to toxins.

The toxins they consume from their diet are stored in their skin, making them highly toxic to predators. This makes them one of the most poisonous animals in the world.

Overall, poison dart frogs are a great example of how animals adapt to their environment and evolve unique traits.

They may be small, but their role in the food chain is significant. Their ability to feed on ants helps to regulate the population of these tiny insects, and their toxicity serves as a warning to potential predators.

22. Flies

by whologwhy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Flies may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of animals that eat ants, but some species of flies do have a taste for these tiny insects.

One example is the phorid fly, also known as the “ant-decapitating fly” because of its unusual method of hunting ants.

The female phorid fly will lay its eggs inside the ant’s head, where the larvae will develop and eventually eat their way out, causing the ant’s head to fall off.

Other species of flies, such as the hoverfly and the robber fly, are also known to prey on ants, using their speed and agility to catch them in mid-air.

While flies may not be as well-known as some other ant-eating animals, they play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to keep ant populations in check.

23. Jumping Spiders

Jumping Spiders
by siraf72 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Jumping spiders are known for their incredible agility and hunting abilities.

These small but mighty arachnids are in almost every corner of the world, and they have developed some pretty impressive ways of catching their prey – including ants.

One of the things that sets jumping spiders apart from other spiders is their ability to jump.

They can jump up to 50 times their body length, making them one of the most agile hunters in the animal kingdom.

Jumping spiders use their incredible eyesight to spot prey, and once they have locked onto their target, they pounce on it with lightning speed.

When it comes to ants, jumping spiders are particularly skilled hunters. They can easily track their movements, and they are not afraid to take on even the largest and most aggressive ant species.

Jumping spiders can also move quickly over rough terrain, making them ideal for hunting ants in places where other animals would struggle to keep up.

Despite their impressive hunting skills, jumping spiders are not without their own predators. Many birds and larger spiders will prey on jumping spiders if given a chance.

But even in the face of these threats, jumping spiders continue to thrive and play an important role in the ecosystem.

Overall, jumping spiders are a fascinating and important part of the animal kingdom.

Their agility, hunting abilities, and willingness to take on tough opponents make them one of the most interesting and exciting creatures to observe in the wild.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast or just curious about the world around you, jumping spiders are definitely worth taking a closer look at.

24. Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spiders
by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wolf spiders are a type of arachnid known for their hunting prowess. These predators are often in forests and grasslands, where they hunt for small prey, including insects and other spiders.

Interestingly, wolf spiders are also animals that eat ants. They use their strong jaws to capture and consume these tiny creatures.

Wolf spiders are particularly well adapted for hunting ants. Their bodies have specialized hairs that allow them to sense vibrations and movement in the ground.

This helps them locate ants and other small insects moving around underfoot.

Once a wolf spider has located an ant colony, it will use its stealth and agility to get in close and capture its prey.

The spider will often stalk the ants from a safe distance, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

When the time is right, the wolf spider will pounce, grabbing the ant with its powerful jaws and injecting it with venom.

The venom quickly immobilizes the ant, allowing the spider to consume it at leisure.

Wolf spiders are not the only animals that eat ants but are certainly among the most efficient. These predators play an important role in controlling ant populations in their local ecosystems.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a wolf spider in the wild, take a moment to appreciate this remarkable hunter and its important role in its environment.

25. Caterpillars

by John Tann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

While caterpillars may seem like harmless creatures, some species are actually formidable predators of ants.

For example, the caterpillars of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly are known to hunt and consume carpenter ants.

These caterpillars use a unique hunting technique: they wait patiently on the tips of leaves until an ant passes by, then pounce on the unsuspecting insect and devour it.

Some species of caterpillars also secrete a sticky substance that traps ants and other prey.

Despite their impressive hunting abilities, caterpillars are sometimes not considered ant predators due to their harmless appearance.

However, they play an important role in controlling ant populations and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

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