How Many Ants Are Needed to Lift a Car & Other Heavy Stuff

Ants can be remarkable beings, they will go above and beyond to achieve the impossible. Of course to ants anything is possible, we humans see certain ants’ accomplishments as impossible, due to our physical limitations and beliefs.

An average ant (2.5 mg) is known to lift up to 50 times its own weight. If we took a car whose average weight is 4000lb and equally balanced it at 1000lbs per tire, it would take almost 15 million ants to carry it.

Ant carrying a piece of vegetable over a branch with a blue sky on its background
Ant carrying a piece of vegetable on top of a small branch.

Why Are Ants Able to Lift a Car and Other Heavy Stuff?

As incredible as it may seem, the ants’ muscles are no stronger than the ones in the human body, then how can they lift so much weight. This is possible due to a concept of physics known as scaling. The small size of ants provides them a tremendous advantage.

The size and body mass that constitutes the tubular structure of an ant, allows them to lift much more than the average mammal. It would be impossible for ants to become much larger and still maintain their body design, our gravity would simply put too much pressure on them.

How Heavy Is an Ant?

As there are several ants species, there are as well different ant weighs. This can go from 1 up to 150 mg. Black ants and red ants can weigh from 5 to 7 mg. The lightest ant species known to men (parasites of the Pharaoh) weighs around 1 to 2 mg, and the largest species of ants from South America and Africa (wandering ants) can weigh up to an astonishing 10 grams.

How Much Do Ants Lift?

Researchers from the journal of biomechanics reported that the American field ant (common) can lift and sustain pressures up to 5,000 times its weight.

Bonus: Ants are extremely attracted to coffee maker machines, but this amazing trick keeps them running in seconds. 😱👍👍👍

Can Ants Lift a Human?

The average ant can lift up to 50 times their weight (500mg). This means each ant species will potentially be able to lift around 25000 mg or 0.025kg. Doing a simple math equation, 180lbs (81.6kg), will require 3264 ants (give or take) to lift an average human body.

It is very possible for ants to lift a human being. Just to put some perspective here are the numbers with an average human used as an example.

Body PartWeightNumber of ants
Head5 Kg (11lb)200
Torso56 Kg (123lb)2240
Arms8 Kg (17lb)320
Legs27 Kg (59lb)1080

This means you need less than 0.4% of an entire ant colony to lift a 100kg (220lb) person! Very impressive I must say! And additionally, a queen can produce up to 700,000 ant eggs for its own colony. That’s a lot of babies too!

Can 1 Million Ants Lift a Human?

1 Million ants will carry a human with no problem at all. The main challenge here would be to balance and distribute the weight to carry it than to lift it. For each human being on earth, there are 1.6 million ants.

What Is the Strongest Ant?

Generally speaking, all the ants’ species are incredibly strong. When you compare them all, the strongest ant in the world is the Asian weaver ant. Unlike the average ant that will only lift up to 50 times, its weight. The Asian weaver ant can carry many objects up to 100 times their own body weight.

What Is the Heaviest Object an Ant Can Lift?

Up to this point, there is no study that confirms the heaviest object an ant is actually lifting. Hypothetically we know that there are no limits for ants to carry certain weights as long as there are ants being added to the equation. As far as we know, ants can carry cars, elephants, and even ourselves, if the right conditions are met.

Did you know: Ants are extremely attracted to human sperm for this particular reason! 🤢🤮🤮🤮

Ants and elephants are both strong from what they can lift within the specs of their body mass, but when you start to compare the advantages and disadvantages between them the ant wins the elephant by miles. For example:

  • Ants can perform better in strength because their internal body part consists of muscles, which enables them to carry stuff for longer distances.
  • They have powerful lungs that break down oxygen very efficiently and feed it directly into their leg muscles.
  • The performance of an elephant depends on how well he uses his trunk, unlike ants who have a fully efficient body and limbs.
  • Elephants rely on memory to go from one place to another, ants can use pheromones to do it and actually can count the necessary steps to do it so.

Can ants pick up an elephant?

Although it would not be easy to balance an elephant to carry it, ants are able to pick the full weight of an elephant with no problem at all. They are very strong and their teamwork can surprise us with what they can accomplish together.

Will Ants Lift a Car and Other Heavy Stuff if They Want To?

Of course, they can, but ants will not do that because it’s not in their best interest doing it so. They still need to break down stuff in order to fit inside the colony, besides, a car will not provide the resources the ants are looking for.

Even if the ants would find food the size of a car, it would be easier for them to carry it in smaller pieces than a whole piece at once. But you can bet, that if they wanted to lift a car they could do it. But luckily for us, they are not interested in them.

Conclusion

It is amazing to see how ants can strive to achieve the impossible for the welfare of the colony. Not only they are exceptional, but they are an inspiration for all of us where we can admire what actual teamwork can accomplish. This definitely will make us look upon those tiny beings with a whole new perspective.

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