Habitat

The type of Formicarium and the habitat you provide your ants depends on which species you choose to keep.

It disappoints me to see some formicariums, of whatever design, have plain or virtually empty habitats. Some people provide their ants with only soil and sand on which to forage, and simply dump their food into a dish in the corner.

I believe that owners will enjoy their ants all the more if the habitat provided is rich with natural features, and provides a good space for the ants to explore and forage, as per their natural inclination.

As ants navigate by using visual cues (such as rocks and the sun's position) it might be beneficial to ensure the habitat has a diverse arrangement of features (logs, stones, hillocks, plants) that are permanent. Ants also navigate a great deal using chemical trails, so do not disturb the sand or the features.

I understand that British ants require a damp, dark sandy soil substrate in which to burrow and nest build, but they also need a good sized space in which to forage, and I believe owner and ant will benefit from dressing and caring for the habitat.

Habitat

These three images show my formicarium's habitat. My ants are Tree ants, so they don't burrow, but all ants benefit from a natural environment in which to forage for food and explore for materials.

Habitat

You can see (above) that I use a warm halogen lamp to light my formicarium during dusk, and the web-cam needs the light too.

There is a rock, on which I place drops of honey, fruit and squashed flies. The branch holds the ants' nest, and there is a constant stream of ants going up and down it.

There is a small log lain down, on which I place food, and the air-plants must be kept misted and damp, so they provide water to the ants.

In the background there is a plaster feature that is bordered by moss from my garden. At the very back is a 'hedge' of sphagnum moss, which provides a nice backdrop to my formicarium and is like a jungle for the ants to crawl through. Some times I sprinkle a little sugar into this jungle for them to find.

Habitat

I use a small square dish to hold water. I have read that I should use a sponge within to stop the ants drowning and help them drink, but I found that after a few hours they could not reach the lowered water. Without the sponge they always have access to a pool of water, and none have ever drowned. I change / fill the water frequently, at least every two days. Sweet foods make ants thirsty!


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