Tiny, but Fearless

Hi! Mr. Nature here again, with another keen observation of our infinitely complicated natural world, also known as God’s Creation.

Yesterday I watched something I’d never seen before. Along the fringe of Patty’s garden, yellow-jackets were flying just an inch or two above the ground, looking like they were trying very hard to find a place to land. And every time one of them did land, one or two ants would attack and drive it off.

This went on for quite a while. A yellow-jacket is many times the size of one of these little brown ants, and could easily bite an ant in half with one clash of its jaws–but that seemed to make no impression on the ants at all. Later I found some videos online (just search for “ants vs. yellow-jackets,” and you’ll find a few of them) showing ants attacking yellow-jackets, usually in competition for food, or else because the yellow-jackets were trying to steal food already collected by the ants. In one video, a single black ant tries to repel half a dozen (!) yellow-jackets from a fallen pear.

It made me wonder–can ants feel fear? Do they know anything we would even recognize as fear? Or has God created them utterly without it? What would it be like, to have an ant’s consciousness? You can’t get any mammal to behave like that. Imagine one jackal trying to drive away five lions from the carcass of a gnu. He’d only try that if he had a mind like an ant’s. Or a very creative death wish.

Last week we found an unusual thing in the garden: a yellow-jacket crawling around because it had no wings. I think we can guess now what happened to its wings. Patty was worried about yellow-jackets making a nest in the garden; but the place is full of ants, and I don’t think the ants will allow it.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which have no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  –Proverbs 6:6-8

Observe the ways of living creatures. You’ll never run out of things to see–or think about.


One comment on “Tiny, but Fearless”

Leave a Reply