Anti-caturday post

Honestly, cat people, wouldn’t you rather have a colony of fire ants than one of those furry beasts? You know that all that matters is survival of the fittest, and if you pitted the two against each other, it would end with a small pile of clean, polished bones on the floor…and remember, ants don’t have bones.

Also, cats hate water, so when your house floods, the cats will be in a panic…but the ants will just calmly assemble a raft from their bodies and float to safety. I think it’s clear which pet is more fit.

This one reminded me of the “Black Freighter” story within Watchmen.


  1. says

    I like cats. I like dogs, too. I don’t actually have either, however. That helps me keep liking them.

  2. 'Tis Himself says

    How easily are fire ants housebroken? How much does Purina® Fire Ant Chow™ cost? Do fire ants need to vaccinated against rabies or whatever diseases fire ants are susceptible to?

    You obviously haven’t given enough thought to having fire ants as pets.

  3. ambassadorfromverdammt says

    How do you take a colony of fire ants for a walk? I suppose one could park them on a bunny, but then, how long would the walk last? How much excercise do fire ants need, anyway?

  4. Dick the Damned says

    PZ, how about you test having a nest of fire ants cuddled up on your lap, then tell us all about it, eh? Mary could take the photos.

  5. antaresrichard says

    Suddenly, I’m having images of a naked jungle and an ant besieged Charlton Heston/Christopher Leiningen in my head… “forty square miles of agonizing death!”

  6. Trebuchet says

    Clearly the fire ants are inferior to teeny fish. Which can be eaten by bigger fish. Which can be put in cans for cat food. Cats win!

    The first video gave me a really annoying Mazda commercial based on The Six Million Dollar Man. I keep wanting to ask them if the car costs that much.

  7. unclefrogy says

    All the monsters in all the movies that ravage and kill that people run from and battle so heroically are so anthropomorphic in mind and intent. None I have ever seen are anywhere as relentless or “alien” as ants. Does anyone know of any “invasive” introduced species that has been controlled, defeated or eradicated from its new territory? Does anyone know of any that did not have a negative affect on their new territory?
    nature is winning!

    uncle frogy

  8. julietdefarge says

    I can’t think about fire ants without thinking about Tom Delay.

    Does anyone know if the rumor that you can get rid of fire ants by sprinkling their nest with grits is true? How would that work (besides the ants being bored to death?)

  9. says

    I have had dogs. I have had cats. I have had rats, birds, fish and lizards and snakes. I have also had fire ants. The only one I wouldn’t care to have again would be fire ants. I dealt with them when I was living in the Houston, TX area and the ONLY thing I ever saw eradicate a nest was when I “accidentally” spilled some used motor oil onto the mound.

    No, thank you, I do not want them on a boat, I do not want them with a goat, I do not want them here or there, I do not want them ANYWHERE.

  10. katkinkate says

    If you mix the grits with Borax you might kill a few. There’s a fire ant infestation here in SE Queensland (Aust) that our State Government is trying to eradicate. They are using a baiting system to kill off known nests and have a system of movement restrictions on garden products and soil from the active area. They’ve invented a quick method to survey from the air. Apparently fire ant nests show up on an infra-red scan and they use helicopters to buzz the risk areas to find new nests for treatment. Also fire ants are on a mandatory notification list. If you find them you have to tell the Qld. Govt. There was a colony found in Central Queensland several years ago but I’ve heard they managed to clear them out.

  11. magistramarla says

    I’ve had to deal with those horrid fire ants while living in Texas, and I would never joke about them being pets. Have you ever dealt with a miserable group of little boy scouts who belatedly found that they had pitched their tent near a nest of those things? I have, and my boy was very miserable for a while.

    We’ve had a couple of cats who have loved the water. My daughter’s cat has loved to take a swim in the bathtub since he was a tiny kitten, and he has his own collection of bath toys. Any cat will swim if it has to, even though he/she may not like it.

    My cat is curled up next to me right now, purring loudly, and my dog is curled up at my feet, his nose on my sock. That’s the way to spend a Saturday morning!

  12. rg57 says

    Having been woken up, from deep sleep in my bed, by being repeatedly stung for no apparent reason, by a single fire ant which had somehow gone from outside, to inside, to bedroom, to bed, to inside pants, to … well, I’ll spare you the details. I HATE that species with a passion reserved for no other. And yes, the ant apparently left a chemical trail somewhere and its buddies CAME BACK the next night. I hate them.

  13. says

    Rather? Rather?!

    No no no. Cats and fire ants are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they compliment each other. The person who has a horde of fire ants and pride of feral cats might be the most intimidating person out there.

  14. No One says

    I have a nest of them outside my door. My neighbors are constantly giving me advice on how to get rid of them. I live in a log cabin. Not a termite in sight. The stay. They neighbors can leave…

  15. thewhollynone says

    Grits work. You just have to use INSTANT grits. Turns the ants into mockingbird food; very environmentally efficient. Motor oil and a match work, too, but that leaves you with a chemical dump site that even the earthworms won’t touch for years. Frankly I have a feeling that the ants will be here a long time after we are gone.

  16. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    I got hit by one (ONE!) fire ant when I was down in NO after the hurricane. Ouch. Big time.

    On the other hand, cats are far superior. After all, has anyone ever posted a LOLfireant image?

  17. says

    I spent the summer of 1985 in Texas, and met fire ants for the first and (I hope) last time.
    I learned very quickly not to step outside barefoot, having seen two friends do so only to get their feet eaten. One couldn’t put his shoes on for the next couple of days.
    And then one day I hung my laundry out on the clothesline to dry, only to have a swarm of fire ants climb up the tree, walk out on the clothesline, and get all over my wet clothes. I was reminded of an army setting up a really long supply line, such was the organization, endurance and persistence of these creatures.
    If I want companions, I’ll take the cats. If I want the insect equivalent of the Viet Cong at Dien Bien Phu, I guess I’ll take the fire ants.

  18. DLC says

    A. R. @8 : But you can’t pet fire ants, or watch them with amusement as the go after a piece of yarn, or as they dream of killing things. Hey, if you’re lucky Kitteh will leave one for you. they’ve been known to do that. . .

  19. Trebuchet says

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter, #19:

    Thank you SO much for the sleepless night I’m about to have. I didn’t even have to open the link, just see what it led to.

  20. says

    Clearly the fitness of either species is tied to environs they find themselves in. My two cats are vastly less likely to feel the selective pressure of my workboots when I see them making a line or the pantry.

  21. says

    And now we Louisiana Fire Ants can do this:

    Multiple Queen Colonies

    Early studies of imported fire ant biology indicated that colonies contained single queens (monogyne). However, since 1973, reports have become more frequent of the occurrence of multiple queen (polygyne) colonies. Multiple queen colonies have been found in areas of Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia, being more frequent in the western edge of their range (Vinson and Sorenson 1986).
    Multiple queen colonies differ from single queen colonies in several ways: (1) the mounds are closer together and more numerous per acre of land, (2) the colonies have smaller workers with fewer major workers present, (3) workers are not aggressive towards neighboring colonies, and (4) the queens weigh less and produce fewer eggs than single queens. The overall number of eggs produced in a multiple queen colony is higher than in a single queen colony due to the presence of many queens producing eggs simultaneously. Additionally, fewer reproductive alates of fire ants are produced with the males often being sterile and the females weighing less (Hedges 1998, Vinson and Sorenson 1986).

  22. unclefrogy says

    earlycuyler that is not something I like the sound of. It calls to mind the Argentine ant that lives and infests the west coast.
    It to is an imported pest that causes a lot of damage. In its native range it is composed of separate colonies but from studies has been discovered that the ants in California is now in effect one vast colony which pretty much insures that it will never be eradicated and its negative effects are probably permanent IMHO.
    is the future of the fire ant going to look like the Argentine ant? Is there something in the way we are fighting them helping to select for this?

    uncle frogy