Amazing Ant Facts: How Much Can An Ant Lift? How Strong Are They?

Rhea Nischal
Jan 06, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Oct 15, 2021
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Ants can carry weight that is almost 50times their own.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Have you wondered how much a tiny ant can possibly carry?

Did you know that a tiny little ant can lift more than 10-50 times its weight? Sounds unbelievable, right?

An ant is a very small insect that is commonly seen crawling almost anywhere, from the ground to a tree branch to a human's arm. It can be seen in almost all parts of the world. It is known for many things, mostly its painful stings (ouch!

), but the most fascinating thing about this small insect is its astonishing capacity to lift! Given its body mass, an ant is one of the strongest animals in the world. It is capable of lifting 10-50 times its body weight.

Quite impressive! Ants are very strong, but strength is not the only trick they have up their sleeve. Read on to learn many more fun facts about this interesting creature!

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about are spiders bugs and what do insects eat here on Kidadl?

How much can an ant lift compared to its body weight?

Ants have the ability to lift 10-50 times their body weight. As they are small-sized the cross-sectional area of their muscles is greater relative to the size of their body so they are able to produce much force.

It was originally estimated that ants can withstand a force 1,000 times that of their own weight, but it was later found out that it was much more than 1,000 times.

An ant has the ability to withstand forces 3,400-5,000 times their own average weight. Anything heavier causes their necks to rupture.

There are more than 12,000 species of ants that could possibly withstand more. However, they are yet to be discovered by researchers. Bodies of these insects are structured in a way so that they can withstand force to survive.

What is the heaviest thing an ant can lift?

The leafcutter ant is the strongest ant species in the entire world, as proved by researchers. This ant possesses astonishing strength. It is able to lift heavy loads due to its exceptionally small size. It is believed that the smaller the size of an ant, the more strength it possesses.

One of the world's strongest insects, leafcutter ants possess astounding strength as they need to survive while they forage on the ground. They can tolerate forces that are 50 times their own body weight which is very impressive for their small size!

Interestingly, unlike humans, these ants lift things not with their limbs, but with their jaws!

Leafcutter ants, being one of the strongest insects in the world, are also excellent at feeding a colony. They grow a fungus with the help of leaves, which is fed upon by the whole colony.

Ants possess extreme stamina and strength.

How can an ant lift so much?

Lifting and carrying heavy weights is easier for an ant due to its small size. Its strength is proportional to its surface area which helps it to support heavy loads.

The smaller the size of an ant, the more strength it has. An ant's surface area is smaller than the ant's volume, implying that the muscles of an ant do not need to spend a lot of energy while the ant lifts or moves around.

Thus, ants can lift heavy and large things easily. This also explains why many small-sized ants are able to walk far while they carry significantly large objects.

These animals can also hold an astounding amount of static weight. Researchers discovered that the ant's neck joint could tolerate 5,000 times the weight of the ant.

These animals have their hind legs structured close to each other which helps them in tolerating strong forces. The neck of ants also has bumps that allow them to carry heavy objects in nature. If these structures were not present in necks of ants, they wouldn't be able to lift or carry heavy items.

Ants possess extraordinary strength due to their unique body structure. If they were to be scaled up to the size of a giant human, they would lose their strength. Why?

Ants circulate oxygen throughout their body with the help of spiracles that are small holes with tubes. If scaled up, then these tubes cannot circulate oxygen throughout the body!

How much can an ant lift compared to a human?

It can be said that ants are of the strongest insects that exist in the entire world as they can lift weights that are unimaginable and extraordinary for their size. Humans wouldn't be able to lift heavy loads that are 50 times their body weight even if they were shrunken to the size of an ant.

If an average human were to possess the strength of leafcutter ants, it would have the extraordinary strength and capacity to lift 9,000 lb (4,082.3 kg)!

If humans had the same ability as ants and had a powerful neck, then that neck would be able to tolerate 750,000 lb (340,194.2 kg)! It is quite bizarre how much strength a human would be capable of.

If humans could have the impressive strength of a leafcutter ant, they could then lift a car (that weighs in tons) with the help of their jaws!

Did You Know...

Ants are exceptional at digging and constructing due to the stamina and strength they possess. They can easily dig large-sized colonies that are far superior to human construction!

Like bees, ants also have a queen. However, this queen does not command other ants. Workers perform tasks on their own that are also discussed with colony members.

An ant colony has many laborers that carry out different tasks. Ants that are younger perform tasks inside the nest and provide help to the queen. The adult ants go outside to forage and collect food and to guard the nest against outsiders.

Ants communicate with each other through chemical signals that are caught and translated with the antennae they possess. These pheromones have certain messages in them that instruct or alert.

Ants are coated with chemicals on their bodies that are used to recognize each other. There is a unique coating of chemicals present on the queen that makes others aware of her presence. Ants can also communicate with each other by vibration and touch!

The tiniest of ants can transfer venom by stinging humans which can cause swelling, itching, or burning. However, stings of the majority of ants are harmless to humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how much can an ant lift, then why not take a look at 'are millipedes dangerous', or ant facts!

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

Gowri Rao picture

Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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