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Top 5 Strange Facts about Ants (+ Ottawa Giveaway to see “The Hidden Life of Ants” at the Canadian Museum of Nature)

Weaver ants

Working in concert, weaver ants pull the leaves of their tree crown nests together with their bodies. Photo credit: Mark W. Moffet / Minden Pictures.

Most of us have heard of some strange facts about ants. They are a curious species, with their queens and workers. But you can learn some of the lesser known facts about ants at an exhibit opening in Ottawa TODAY, July 26th, at the Canadian Museum of Nature. For the first-ever stop in Canada, an exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian that features 39 captivating large-format images from Mark W. Moffet‘s body of work.

So, if at this point in the summer, your kids have developed ants in their pants, then a trip to the Museum of Nature is just what the doctor orders! The exhibit is jam-packed with all kinds of weird and wonderful information about how ants work, hunt, live and communicate. To whet your appetite, here are a few of the strangest facts I’ve ever heard about ants:

Top 5 Strange Ant Facts

1. Ants from the same nest smell alike. Whenever ants meet, they sweep their antennae over each other to identify one another. If their scents are unfamiliar, the workers will either run away or go on the attack.

2. Human societies may send their young men and women to war, but weaver ants rely on the oldest members of their all-female society–their old ladies–to defend their territory.

3. Some ant species attack and take over neighboring ant colonies and make them into slaves to do their work. Some slave-making ants are incapable of feeding themselves and need captured workers to survive.

4. Some caterpillars of the butterfly family are herded by ants, led to feeding areas in the daytime, and brought into the ants’ nests at night. The caterpillars have a gland which secretes honeydew when the ants massage them.

5. The eggs of two species of ants are used in a Mexican dish called escamoles. They are considered to be “insect caviar” and have buttery, slightly nutty taste.

Enter to Win a Family Pass to Museum of Nature in Ottawa!

Approximate value = $75

Open to anyone who can visit Ottawa between
July 26, 2013 and January 5, 2014.

One of my pet peeves is that it is quite expensive for a family to visit most museums in Canada. I really feel that museums should be accessible to families of all income levels (I’ve shared some money-saving tips before on this post). But, hey, since I can’t change the entire museum culture in Canada, I can offer to do a giveaway for one family (two adults and up to three children) to visit the Museum of Nature in Ottawa during the time that this “Hidden Life of Ants” exhibit is on!

This is by far one of our family’s most favourite museums (you can read why my 10-year-old daughter Stella loves this museum on this post) so please don’t hesitate to enter the giveaway to get a chance to take your family!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: In exchange for helping to spread the word about this exhibit, my family will also be receiving a pass to visit the museum. 

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