Do Ants See What We See?

So how would you feel if giants were a real thing or dinosaurs still existed? I mean what would it be like if being stepped on by some huge creature was an everyday concern of yours? It would be like dodging asteroids every step of the way every day. That would be a pretty hard life if you’d ask me.

Well, that’s what life is to small animals like ants, as we think. (but it’s not! I’ll tell you why later) I guess the movie ‘Antz’ gave a pretty good idea about ant’s life. But it was just a cartoon. So let’s take a moment to actually see the world through an ant’s eyes. I know, I know! I’m not a big fan of ants either. I find them pretty annoying too. Maybe that’s why we should pay them more attention.

Antz film image by

First, let’s get an idea about the size of an ant. So, a man is about 750 times taller than an ant. So literally almost everything is bigger, taller, and larger than ants. That’s quite scary, don’t you think? Every day must be filled with natural disasters for them. Just think about it. Onestep and they are dead. Just like that. I know in cartoons they survive being crushed by a boot, but this is real life and in real life, ants don’t survive that.

get an idea about the size of an ant

That leads us to an interesting question. Are ants concerned about dying crushed by a human shoe? The answer is no. Don’t get me wrong, Survival is very much a concern of ants as it is for all the other living, breathing beings of the world. My point is that they do not recognize WHO is crushing them. Sure, they will see the shoe as a threat but their brains do not recognize that it’s a shoe. Everything is either a threat or a non-threat inside the ant’s brain. Another reason for this is that their vision is blurry. Ants have 2 compound eyes with units called ‘ommatidia’. A fancy word, but bear with me. According to the number of ommatidia in their eyes, their vision changes. So, the lesser number of ommatidia they have, the blurrier the image they see. And the smaller they are, the closer they have to get to an obstacle to realize that it’s an obstacle. This explains why ants don’t move sometimes even when you’re really close, right? They are not dumb, they just can’t see.

With that, we can totally understand that the world is a different place for ants. They don’t see the beautiful things in the world. Not what you thought their lives would be like, I know. Me too.

they just can’t see.

Maybe we should be more understanding and forgiving towards them. Yeah, I’m being dramatic, but somebody has to talk for them. So, that was a little something to keep in mind when you come across a colony of ants. Until next time, look out for these tiny guys.

By Dinithi Jayarathne

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