Have you ever seen an ant carrying something, like a flower or some food? Consider this: ants can lift things 100 times their own weight. That’s like a 45 pound kid carrying a 4500 pound rhinoceros! Not only that, but ants can do this while walking straight up walls or hanging upside down from ceilings. How do they manage to stick so well to things? When ants put their feet down, pads on

their feet automatically inflate, like balloons, and excrete small amounts of sticky fluid. That works great for connecting to a wall or ceiling, but how do they then run so quickly across a surface?

That is, if ants are so sticky, how do they also unstick from surfaces? Unlike you and I, ants have foldable feet. When an

ant wants to unstick from a wall or ceiling, it deflates its foot until it folds together, like a book, reducing the amount of sticky surface touching the wall.

Maxim D. Doucet Hall, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA 70504, USA

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1723677. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.