Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to email@example.com.
How do ants crawl on walls? – Ethan, age 9, Dallas, Texas
When I first started my job as a biologist at the University of South Florida, I drove my Jeep to a grassy field, dug up a mound of fire ants and shoveled it into a 5-gallon bucket. Immediately, thousands of ants swarmed out of the soil and up the walls of the bucket headed for freedom. Luckily I had a lid.
How do ants make climbing walls, ceilings and other surfaces look so easy? I’ve been studying ants for 30 years, and their climbing abilities never cease to amaze me.
Worker ants – who are all female – have an impressive toolbox of claws, spines, hairs and sticky pads on their feet that enable them to scale almost any surface.
Human hands vs. ant feet