Do Turtles Eat Ants? Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Nov 8, 2021

Can turtles eat ants?

I have covered a wide variety of topics on what turtles eat. So, taking forward the tradition, today, I have answered another interesting query: do turtles eat ants?

A typical household is definitely going to attract some insects. Ants have an amazing talent to find their way into our house no matter how much we try to stop them. 

So, do turtles, who seem to have an appetite for anything they can fit into their mouth, also eat ants? If yes, is it beneficial or harmful?

Let’s find out.

Do Turtles Eat Ants?

Yes, turtles will eat ants, but as ants are one of the tiniest insects around, they bear significantly less nutritional value for your turtles. So your turtles will have to consume loads of ants to fill their appetite. But, yes, it is definitely beneficial as ants are among the best protein sources despite having a tiny body. 

In the wild, turtles eat everything that they can hunt or forage. And if they happen to locate an ant nest, they will definitely have a feast. A turtle’s thick skin can withstand the bite of the ant armies. So, the ants will have to run and hide from the turtle’s mayhem.

Did you know that ants have one of the highest protein-to-body mass ratios? For example, a leaf-cutting ant contains an average of 42-53 grams of protein per 100 grams in body weight. 

And a feeder fish averages around 20 grams only. So, you know who the winner is.

The reason behind emphasizing protein is because it promotes a turtle’s growth by elevating thermal conditions. 

Findings have also shown that protein increases ingestion rates in turtles.

So, if your turtle is consuming ants, it definitely helps him with overall body functions.

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Can Ants Kill Turtles?

Yes, an army of fire ants can kill a turtle. They are the most common and dangerous ants. They are known to bring down small animals like rabbits and rodents.

However, common house ants like carpenter ants, odor ants, and pavement ants are harmless to your turtles. In fact, your turtles will eat them when around. 

Fire ants have become an invasive species found almost everywhere in the US. However, they seldom enter human homes. Instead, they make soil-mound nests and can be found in parks, meadows, sunny open lands, lawns, golf courses, etc.

So, if you have been neglecting your lawn, hurry up and check for these red fire ant mounds. 

But, turtles living outdoors are safe from red fire ants because the first thing a turtle does when it’s afraid is, reach for the water. Even if it is a red fire ant, it cannot hold onto its bite for a longer period underwater. However, the red fire ants are found to survive underwater for about 24 hours.

So, if you really want to get rid of fire ants from your backyard or lawn, here’s what you can do:

Locate The Mound

First, you have to locate the mound. Look for loose piles of sand or dust with no clear indication of entry or exit. It will be easier to locate after heavy rainfall, as they will look more distinguished and dome-shaped.

Here’s how an ant mound will look after heavy rainfall.

ant mound after rain
Ant mound after the rain

Pour Club Soda Over The Mound

Do not attempt to disturb the colony right after you locate them. Instead, you can use this popular home remedy. Take a bottle of club soda – at least 2 cups – and pour it over the mound. 

The reason behind using club soda is that it replaces oxygen with carbon dioxide immediately. When the soda seeps inside the mounds, it will suffocate the ants and result in mass ant genocide.

However, fire ants can create elaborate networks of tunnels spanning more than 25 feet in depth. So, if you are pouring soda over an industrious colony’s nest, the queen might be safe from the liquid’s reach. 

And, here’s an interesting fact for you. A queen fire ant lays about 1000 eggs a day, which can hatch within a week. 

And suppose you again see red fire ants even after dousing the mound. In that case, you need to understand that the mound has become impregnable enough for normal home remedies to not work against it. You are going to need bigger guns.

Using Of Baits

These are the chemically treated products that can devastate an entire ant colony. This trojan horse method uses a chemically processed bait to lure ants into taking it inside their colony. Consequently, they will share it among everyone – from worker ants to the queen.

After the consumption, the effects of chemicals inside the bait will cause the ants to die. This broadcast treatment saves you the hassle of looking for the mounds. 

But before that, read the labels mentioned on the product thoroughly. Then, follow every instruction carefully to keep you and your family safe. 

Here’s a trusted product from AMROD to keep your house safe from all kinds of ants (even the Fire Ants!)

Other DIY Methods

Other DIY methods include pouring boiled water and soapy water over the mound. However, these methods only work against the ants that come in contact with it.

As previously mentioned, the networks of tunnels lie deep inside the soil. So, these DIY methods will not be enough to kill the queen.

Are Ant Traps Safe For Turtles?

No, ant traps are not safe for turtles. They contain toxic elements which can result in fatal conditions when consumed by a turtle. Try to keep these traps and baits in areas turtles cannot reach. Ants reach everywhere, so you need not worry about them not falling for these traps.

Final Words On Do Turtles Eat Ants

If you have a turtle living outdoors, the chances of your turtle encountering ants are high. When this happens, most turtles will leave the ants to their own devices.

But, yes, they can definitely consume ants, and it is beneficial too. Additionally, ants are high in protein, making them a great protein-filled snack for turtles.

Some ants, like red fire ants and big-headed ants, can attack your turtle. In addition, it has been reported that their armies can attack smaller animals and eat them.

So, check for these invasive ant nests, and use necessary measures to eradicate them.

Relevant Readings:

Why Is My Turtle Not Basking? Help Him.

How To Know If Your Turtle Is Happy? 8 Signs Of A Happy Turtle

What Does A Turtle Look Like Without A Shell? It’s Surprising!

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.