Harvester Ants for Horned Lizards
Horned Lizards are ant specialists. We offer bulk quantities of Harvester Ants for Horned Lizard owners. An adult lizard may eat between 20 to 100 ants per day. Ants can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks without losing too many. Be sure to read our Care Instructions below before ordering.
Most people order 500 or 1000 ants at a time. Caution: Harvester Ants can Sting. Adult Supervision is Required.
Bulk ants are shipped via Priority Mail USPS usually within a week of order placement. A PO Box or inside address is recommended to help keep the ants from extreme weather.
Note: During winter ants are more difficult to supply. Orders can be delayed for extended periods. Consider hibernating your lizard(s) or supplementing with crickets, roaches, or other small insects.
Note: Harvester Ants cannot be shipped to Oregon or Hawaii. Please do not order if you live in one of those states.
Note: During extreme heat or cold weather conditions it is best to arrange for shipment to an address where the ants will be delivered inside or to a Post Office Box. If possible please use an address of this type to help minimize loss of ants in shipment.
Note: Not all horned lizards eat harvester ants. If your lizard comes from a high elevation area like Colorado, Wyoming, Utah mountains, or if it is young it may not eat harvester ants. Please read Care Instructions below for more information. The Texas Horned Lizard and the California Coastal Horned Lizard are protected species and should not be captured or kept as pets.
Ant Care Instructions
First of all Don't touch the ants! They can inflict a painful sting. Horned lizards have some immunity to it at least. The sting normally causes pain and swelling. If you are ever stung apply ice to the area until the pain subsides. If symptoms persist call your physician. Persons who are allergic to insect stings should be especially careful as they may require emergency medical attention in the event of an allergic reaction.
How do I keep the ants alive?
The easiest way is to just leave them in the shipping container and store them in a Refrigerator. The cold will slow the ants way down and they may even go into hibernation. This makes it easy to keep them and easy to take ants out when it's time for feeding to your lizard. As the ants warm up they will start to move around faster again. It's a good idea to check the temperature of your fridge. 40 to 45 degrees is optimal. If too much moisture is building up in the container it can be a problem. Placing a paper towel in the ant container may help to dry up some of the moisture.
If you are not able to keep them in a refrigerator, you can set up a different type of home for the ants. You can use plastic tubs that are about 2 feet by 3 feet by 6 inches deep or something similar. You will want a lid on top with about 10 small air holes in it. Harvester ants are not good climbers and should not be able to climb up smooth glass or plastic so aquariums or other similar habitats can be used as well. Cover the bottom of the habitat with a few inches of sand. Play box sand, beach sand, or landscaping sand works fine. Spray the sand with a little water (a spray bottle works reall well for this) to get the sand a little moist before placing your ants into the container.
How Many Ants Do I need?
Generally adult horned lizards will eat around 20 to 60 ants per day. Juveniles will need less. You may be able to supplement your lizard's diet with crickets as well as Small Dubai Roaches and other insects. If so you won't need as many ants. Read More about feeding other insects to Horned Lizards at Phrynosoma.org.
What do I feed the ants?
If you are keeping the ants in the fridge they won't need much food or water. We ship a little food in the container with the ants. Watch the container - if it gets too much moisture in it you may want to put a piece of paper towel in to soak up some of the moisture.If you are not keeping the ants in the fridge you will need to feed and water them regularly. Harvester ants will eat almost anything but their favorite foods are fresh vegetables and fruits. Feed them small pieces of celery, apple, lettuce, carrot, etc... Feed them small pieces about every other day. If some of the food is not eaten after 2 days remove it from the ant "house" as it can get moldy and be harmful to the ants.
What about water for the ants?
If you are keeping the ants in the fridge you probably won't need to worry about giving them water. If you aren't keeping the ants in the fridge they will need water every day. Using a spray bottle, spray a mist of water onto the ants and sand once a day to keep the sand a little moist and give the ants some water. Don't spray too much or the ants may start to drown in the flood.
How do I feed the ants to my lizard?
You will only want to feed a few ants at a time to your lizard. We recommend about 5 ants at a time. Once those are eaten keep putting more ants into the Terrarium or whatever your lizard is in until the lizard is full (stops eating). A funnel and a plastic spoon or scoop can be useful if you need to transfer the ants to another container. Ants are cold blooded just like the lizards so if you are not already keeping them in the fridge, try putting them in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for about 5 to 10 minutes to slow them down before feeding them to your pet(s).
How long will the ants live?
They will normally last up to 2 weeks without losing too many in the fridge.
Hibernating Horned Lizards During Winter
Wherever it is cold enough in the wild Horned Lizards
during winter by tunneling underground. You may want to
your lizard(s) during winter. They will need several inches
sand to tunnel into. You will need to research how to best
your pet(s) hibernate. Here is a place to start: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100120162645AAnjt7h
Hibernating your lizard(s) will help us here at Life Studies as it is more difficult to supply ants during winter.
Not all Horned Lizards Eat Harvester Ants
To the best of our knowledge there are 14 species of Horned Lizards in North America. Most of these depend on Harvester Ants as their staple diet. If your Lizard comes from a cold, high altitude climate (for example Wyoming, Colorado, or Utah high country) or if your lizard is young, it may not eat Harvester Ants. If your Lizard comes from these areas or is young, you may want to order just a few Harvester Ants to try. If the Lizard does not eat them - you should remove the ants as quickly as possible so that they do not harm your Lizard. You can order a vial of 30 ants to try.
We have only had a very few cases where people caught Lizards from these areas and they did not eat Harvester Ants. Lizards from these areas should not be kept because it is too difficult to obtain the right type of ants for them. Young lizards should be fed PINHEAD CRICKETS or smaller ants if they are not able to eat harvester ants very well yet.