What Can Ants Carry? Exploring the Limits of Ant Strength

Have you ever seen an ant carrying exponentially times weight than itself? Here’s how much weight an ant can carry:

An ant can carry up to 50 times their weight which is approximately 100 milligrams. Since ants’ bodies are mostly made up of muscles, they can carry much more weight than their own.

I have always wondered how strong ants are and what they are capable of carrying.

In this blog post, I have researched the limits of ant strength and compiled detailed information about what these tiny creatures are capable of. 

From carrying objects many times their own body weight to hauling logs and even assembling structures, the amazing abilities of ants are sure to surprise and amaze you. 

So let’s take a look at just what ants can carry and explore the limits of their strength!

How Many Ants Does It Take to Lift Certain Objects (Ideally)?

ObjectWeightNumber of Ants Needed to Lift 
Grain of Rice0.029 g1
Drop of Water0.05 g1
Grape5 g50
Tennis Ball56 g560
Apple160 g1,600
Human70 kg700,000
Car1,000 kg10,000,000
Elephant2,000 kg20,000,000
House18,597,200 kg1,859,720,000

This table shows the approximate number of ants needed to lift certain objects, such as humans, cars, and houses.

What Do Ants Use to Carry Things?

Ants use their mandibles, or jaws, to carry things just like human hands. They grasp and hold onto objects using their strong, pincer-like mandibles. They also use their mandibles to cut, chew and carry objects that are too large for them to lift.

Depending on the object’s size and weight, they may work together in groups to carry it back to their nest. They even link together to form a living chain in order to transport items that are too heavy for a single ant.

Imagine an ant army sees a dead cockroach; they won’t chew it off and lift small pieces to their nest. Although most animals would do that, ants are smart and strong enough to carry the whole cockroach back to their colony.

According to research published in the Journal of Biomechanics, some ants’ neck joints can withstand pressures of 5000 times the ant’s weight.

Ants are very strong for their size because their bodies are very light. This means that their muscles do not have to support a heavy body and can therefore use all their strength to lift other objects. 

Humans, on the other hand, carry a heavy load due to our body weight. This means that our muscles are busy supporting our body weight and we don’t have as much strength left over to lift other objects.

For example, an ant can carry an object that is much larger and heavier than its own body weight, such as a crumb or a leaf. 

In contrast, a human can only lift objects that are a fraction of their own body weight, such as a bag of groceries or a small piece of furniture. This is because our muscles are used to support our own weight, and we don’t have as much strength left over to lift other heavy objects.

Can Ants Carry Humans?

No, ants cannot carry humans. Even the largest species of ants, such as bullet ants or Amazonian ants, are not strong enough to carry a human, as a human’s mass area is much larger than an ant’s. Even a child’s weight would crush the strongest ant.

Ants are capable of carrying up to 50 times their own body weight, which is impressive for such small creatures. However, a human body typically weighs more than 100 times the weight of a single ant.

It is possible for ants to drag a human body. However, the ant would need a very strong group of its peers to be able to do so. In fact, it has been observed that large colonies of ants can cooperate together to move heavy objects, such as large rocks and logs. 

However, it is unlikely that an ant colony could successfully move a human body as it would require an enormous number of ants.

Additionally, the human body is not designed for ants to be able to carry it. Ants have a hard exoskeleton and small appendages which makes it difficult for them to properly grip a human body.

How Many Ants Would It Take to Lift a Human?

Although ants can’t lift a human realistically, it would take around 700,000 ants to lift an average human body if we divide the weight of a human body by the ant’s strength.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

Remember that it’s just a very rough figure. The exact number of ants to lift a human depends on the person’s weight, height, body shape, and ant’s specie and strength.

There are approximately 20 quadrillion ants in the world — Enough to carry the entire human population on their back!

How Many Ants Would It Take to Lift an Elephant?

Ideally, it would take 20,000,000 ants to lift an elephant weighing 2,000 kilograms. 

This calculation is just for fun. In reality, even 60 million ants would not be able to lift an elephant off the ground. 

While ants are impressive creatures, there are limits to what they can physically accomplish, and lifting an elephant is far beyond their abilities.

Can Ants Carry Water Droplets?

Yes, ants can carry water droplets. They are so tiny that they can pick up small droplets of water easily without spilling them. However, the amount of water an ant can carry depends on the species of ant and its size.

Larger ants have larger mandibles and stronger muscles, allowing them to carry more water than smaller ants.

Not all ants carry water all the time. Some ants are responsible for foraging and gathering food, while others are tasked with caring for the young or defending the colony. The diversity of ant species and their abilities is truly remarkable and worthy of study and admiration.


Ants are enormously strong compared to their size. They carry food, water, their fellow ants’ dead bodies, and much more.

However, there are limits to their strength, and they cannot carry humans or other large objects like cars or houses. 

Despite these limitations, ants continue to fascinate and amaze us with their strength and abilities.

Faizan Khan

Hey! This is Faizan. I love to explore different ways to control pests. PestCircle is where I share my knowledge by writing articles on different pest control techniques. I always enjoy giving out my knowledge and experience with people to help people deal with pests effectively.

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