with Donald Fact
Hello boys and girls. Well what do you know, it's ant week again, that special time of year when we celebrate the ant. How time flies! I'm sure you've all been paying special attention to the ants in your garden, joining in the local ant
parades and singing the special ant song. But of course, it wouldn't be ant week without your annual dose of ant facts, and this year we've got some real crackers. So, without further ado, let's get facting!
Roman Legionnaires regularly went into battle with ants tucked into their undergarments because they believed it brought them luck. How the ants felt about it is not recorded.
The Amazonian bullhorn ant loves singing and can be heard up to five miles away. On particularly warm days it can do a remarkably accurate impression of an ice cream van.
The Swiss army ant comes with six different attachments, including a tiny soup spoon. This is odd since, as far as scientists are aware, ants have never been observed eating soup.
Ants are acknowledged masters of hand-to-hand combat, although proficiency in this area is wasted on them, since they don't have hands.
Opinions are divided on the existence of the shaggy coated mountain ant, which some authorities claim inhabits the inhospitable slopes of the Himalayas. Last year, a mountain ant scalp obtained by the British Museum was found to be a fake, but many climbers have nevertheless reported ant footprints at high altitude and Brian Blessed says he encountered one of the animals in the flesh.
In 1952, palaeontologists unearthed a fossilised skeleton over twenty feet long, which displayed a number of ant characteristics. In particular, this is the only dinosaur so far discovered that had six legs, and for this reason is widely considered to be the common ancestor of all modern-day ants.
In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder wrote that ants continue to grow throughout their lives, losing one pair of legs, growing udders and eventually turning into cows. We now know that this is rarely ever the case.
In Victorian times children used to use ants as an early form of Lego, due to the unique way that they interlocked. Despite the obvious difficulty of persuading them to stay still, ants were extremely popular and it is widely believed that the most popular toy of 1872 was an ant model of the Albert Hall.
And finally, a cautionary fact:
Ants are extremely flammable and frequently burst into flames. For this reason they are not recommended as pets. Professional ant handlers can only keep them under special licence and must undergo regular fire safety training.
Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2021
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