Nature has a lot of weird corners in it, many of which are not well understood. I’m not sure what anteater sensation proclivities really are, but who knows? It seems like you’d need to find some way to cope with the side effects if you went about your day looking for ant colonies to lick.

Ants really are pretty neat insects, especially when you take a little time to read up on them. Most of us don’t think much about them unless they’re in our kitchens, but they’ve got a lot of interesting things going on. I think we’re broadly familiar with the “usual” perceived cast system of ants: “queen”, “worker”, “soldier”, and so on, but did you know that in some colonies, soldier mandibles are so impractical for feeding purposes that they rely on workers to feed them? Other colonies don’t even “eat” per se as adults. They spend their efforts feeding the colony’s larvae… which they then poke holes in to feed on the juice that seeps out. Vampire ants! Evidently it doesn’t cause any long-term harm to the larvae, gruesome though it sounds.

Because ants live in such ordered colonies, it’s easy to hold them up next to human society structures for comparison. Such exercises can be fun, but beware of taking them too seriously! Human beings are first and foremost people, and proposing any social reform based on the way ants do things is about as natural as putting hats on a dog. If human beings ever trundle down the path of ant-dom, it’s safe to say we’d become a very different species, at least philosophically. But if you’ve got a crisis to deal with, putting ourselves into “ant mode” every now and then isn’t necessarily a bad thing.