Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, has a record of being able to travel 6.2 times his body length in one second. While this is amazing, it is nothing compared to the speeds of the Saharan Silver Ant. The ant can travel at 33.66 inches per second, which, though it may sound like a very minimal amount to us, considering the ant’s body length, is actually an immense distance. This length is the ant’s body length 108 times over. Though it may just seem like a cool skill, there are other reasons why the Saharan Silver Ant needs to run at this speed. The main one is the heat of the sand.
In the Saharan desert (the ant’s natural habitat) the temperatures of the sands can soar to heats of over 40 degrees celsius. If the insect were to stay still on the ground, its feet would be burned. Another reason why the ant needs to run at such a speed is because of its predators. The main predator of the Saharan Silver Ant is the Dumérils fringe-fingered lizard. This reptile builds its burrows near Saharan Silver Ant colonies and when they come out to gather food, it hunts and eats them. To prevent this from happening, one ant will stay outside of the colony’s nest and when the lizard returns to its burrow, the ant will alert the rest of the colony and they go out to gather food.
When a Saharan Silver Ant runs, at times all six of its feet are off the ground. This makes the ant one of the only insects in the world which is able to gallop! Its speed is also the equivalent of a house cat running at 120 mph. As well as a record breaker, this ant is one of the world’s most amazing creatures.