Many people consider colonies of ants to be wiped out after a nuclear blast because these tiny creatures are not supposed to resist the explosion, but the reality is entirely different.
Can Ants Survive a Nuclear Bomb? Ants can survive a nuclear bomb because they are immune to radiations, dig deeper into the ground, sanitize their bodies with saliva, and hide under concrete floors. Moreover, they can remain underground until radiations disappear, as they have food stock and can tolerate hunger.
Nuclear bombs produce ionizing radiation that can cause significant damage to infrastructure and severe injuries to living organisms.
The explosions result in a sudden increase in temperature that can be deadly for the living things on the planet, including humans, plants, and even some insects.
Will ants survive a nuclear bomb?
Nuclear bombs are responsible for explosive blasts that can cause massive damage to living and non-living creatures by releasing radiation.
These nuclear weapons can destroy the city due to large explosions and heat release. It can kill living creatures when exposed to lethal radiation doses.
Moreover, the blast wave can potentially cause damage to buildings, crushing objects and killing people in its path when they are not protected by the resistant shelter.
However, some living creatures can resist damage caused by blast waves, mainly when the blast is powerful enough to destroy almost everything.
Ants, cockroaches, scorpions, tardigrades, wasps, and many other invertebrates can survive nuclear bombs. That was quite hard to believe, but it is possible for these creatures to resist the damage.
Their lifestyle allows them to resist this powerful source of thermal or ultraviolet radiation, increasing the temperature to a maximum extent.
In addition, the temperature reaches almost 3300 to 4000 degrees Celsius after a few seconds of detonation as the nuclear weapon emits extremely high heat and becomes a fireball.
However, ants can beat the powerful effects of a nuclear weapon on the ground and remain unaffected because their lifestyle and environment support survival.
How can ants survive a nuclear bomb?
The ability of ants to survive an explosion can be an unexpected thing to know for you, but it is true as these tiny creatures have adapted to the environmental conditions.
Most probably, you are thinking that these insects have less tolerance to extreme temperatures, so what makes them resistant to thermal radiation?
Their habits of building underground nests can benefit these insects and make them immune to radiation.
Able to dig deeper
They prefer to live in underground nests by constructing deep tunnels within the soil that can reach several feet deep. The nest size depends on colony size, as bigger colonies have larger nests.
The average depth of their nests is around 8 to 12 feet for smaller colonies, while these can reach almost 15 to 20 feet for larger colonies.
The maximum depth of ants’ nests ever observed is 25 to 30 feet, which is considered the maximum depth of underground nests.
A nuclear bomb releases heat energy and radiation, and the blast wave can wipe out the creatures living on the ground or to a depth of a few feet.
In addition, these radiations can reach a depth of 8 to 10 feet and not go deeper than this limit, which means the ants living under 10 feet deep are completely safe. Some of their species also live in the crawl space.
So, the packed earth can prevent radiations from penetrating deeper into the soil so that underground nests can protect these insects, but those living above the ground usually die.
Some ants living within a proper shelter above the ground can survive; otherwise, they have to die if their trails directly come in the way of the blast wave.
Hide under concrete floors
Some species build nests above the ground, live in narrow spaces in concrete or wooden walls, and hide under concrete slabs on pavement or sidewalks.
The concrete walls and floors can protect ants from a nuclear bomb as concrete material can act as a barrier to thermal radiation and blast waves.
Moreover, the bricks, lead, sandbags, and water-filled containers can become good barriers against gamma rays released after an explosion.
The steel, wood, and glass materials cannot provide any protection during a nuclear blast, so the ants living under the hard concrete floors can be protected.
Pavement ants are usually found under the concrete slabs of driveways or sidewalks, which means they are protected from thermal radiation.
In addition, these tiny creatures usually survive when they build their nests within wall voids and hard floors, but those found in window frames, doors, and behind baseboards can die.
Immune to radiations
Ants are immune to radiation as their exoskeleton can spectacularly resist microwaves commonly produced by microwave ovens.
They can be susceptible to high heat released after a blast but can resist ionizing radiations as their bodies are designed to deal with natural UV light from the sun.
Their bodies can only tolerate mild radiations when their exoskeleton is intact because these UV rays can damage the skin tissues after prolonged exposure.
Some tests were conducted to determine the tolerance of red imported fire ants against UV radiations, which showed that these insects can efficiently deal with radiations.
Almost 32 to 50% of thermal radiation and 4 to 5% of ionizing radiation are produced after an explosion of a nuclear bomb.
Ability to hibernate
Ants are highly adaptable creatures as they can hide in safe shelters without coming out of their nests for food and water for many days.
They can live without food and water for almost 7 to 15 days, enough time for the aftereffects of nuclear explosions to disappear.
The level of radiation can reach an extremely high extent that it is dangerous to come out of the shelter, so they remain hidden when they do not find an external environment safe for foraging.
Moreover, these insects can hibernate within their nests for some days and consume stored food sources if they cannot go out to collect food.
It takes almost a few hours to days for the levels of radiation in the environment to reduce when these insects have no risk of death. They can leave their nests when it is safe to come out.
So, they do not find it challenging to keep themselves hidden for long because they naturally hibernate in winter and have food resources to ensure their survival.
Sanitize bodies with saliva
It is better to remove contaminated clothes with blast residues and shower to remove the residual particles from the skin and other body parts.
Ants do not take showers but decontaminate bodies with their saliva having disinfecting properties. It helps keep their bodies clean and avoid the side effects of dangerous chemicals.
Accordingly, they can survive a nuclear bomb due to sanitization of their bodies because they can be at risk of death if they contain toxic chemicals for a long.
Furthermore, they keep removing the residual particles from their bodies when they come to the ground surface after many days of explosion, which can help avoid undesired situations.
What type of ants can survive a nuclear bomb?
The species of ants living in deep underground tunnels and hidden within a strong shelter can survive a nuclear bomb, like a concrete building and brick wall.
However, other species living within a wooden log in the backyard and plant surface are usually at risk of death because they cannot tolerate such high heat.
In addition, older adult ants are more sensitive to radiation produced after a blast than young ones. European ants are also known to survive a nuclear bomb and its effects.
They cannot avoid blast waves and thermal radiations when crawling on the ground surface because these radiations are strong enough to kill a human, so they cannot protect themselves.
Furthermore, the fire, leafcutter, carpenter, and other species of ants living within the decaying wood or plant pots cannot survive an explosion.
However, the pavement ants can resist the damage as they build nests under concrete floors and close to the house’s foundations.