By Joy H. Montgomery, Animal Planet
This may surprise you, but ants have more of a purpose than putting a damper on your picnic. These industrious animals have workloads that may put your own to shame. In fact, many creatures work long days and nights just to survive in the wild, and if you think your 9-to-5 job is rough, a lot of these animals perform tasks that are very similar to jobs people do — though they may have completely different reasons for doing them and unique tools for getting the jobs done. Why do some birds, for example, work as interior decorators? And how do beavers construct giant lodges by chewing on tree bark? Find out what a regular workday is like in the animal kingdom for 10 of the most dedicated workers around.
10. Factory Workers: Ants
If you’ve ever had an ant farm, then you know an ant colony runs like a factory with well-defined roles and responsibilities. The queen ant’s only role is to reproduce, making her the sole producer of all ants born in a colony. A male ant’s only job is to mate with the queen, and unlike the queen, who lives for 15 to 20 years, males die shortly after mating. All of the other ants in the colony have specific jobs to keep it running smoothly. Worker ants are responsible for feeding and caring for the larvae produced by the queen, as well as keeping the colony clean, digging new tunnels and a variety of other tasks. Foraging ants are responsible for finding food and bringing their finds back to the colony. In addition to these roles, some ants act as security guards, scouting locations for the foragers and guarding the colony. While ants might appear to be nature’s nuisance, these tiny bugs eat dead insects and their underground tunnels help aerate soil, making them a vital part of any ecosystem.
Related: 7 Animals Smarter Than Humans