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DAW: Day 5 Bull Ant

By: Ms Jen Cork, Category: At The Museum, Date: 15 Sep 2011

DAW? Dangerous Animals Week, of course! DAW? Dangerous Animals Week, of course! To celebrate our new Dangeroz app (available in the App Store now) we’re featuring a different Australian creature each day...

DangerOz - Discover

Jen Cork © Australian Museum

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The Bull Ant is large with long, powerful jaws and a potent, venom-loaded sting. Many species of bull ants have bright red or orange colours on the head or/and abdomen.

The combination of appearance and ammunition emphasises this insect’s fearsome reputation. The Bull Ants build their nests underground, which can extend several metres in depth, and fiercely protect its boundaries. If an intruder of any size comes too close, the ants are known to follow and even chase the intruder away.

Their sting is extremely painful. The ant grips the intruder with its jaw, curling its abdomen to reveal a stinger before injecting their venom, often multiple times.

In some species these war-like insects have no colony workers. Instead, a raiding queen invades the nest of another species, kills the resident queen and takes over the colony. Invade and conquer obviously a motto with this species.

Along with the Honey Bee, the Bull Ant can kill because of the anaphylactic reaction some people can have as a result of the sting.

So when out and about: be alert and keep your distance when coming in close proximity to a Bull Ant nest.

Quick Facts –

  • We rate this animal as a 5/10 Danger Rating. Why?
  • Has caused death - there are records of people dying from severe reactions to the sting.

Interested in finding out more on Bull Ants? Download DangerOz now.

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