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Self-Sacrificing Ants Refuse Treatment of Their Wounds | National Geographic ctm magazine

A new study reveals that after a raid on a termite nest, the injured ants are cared for by their comrades.
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Navy Seals abide by a code that no man is left behind. Termite-hunting ants abide by a similar code. A new study reveals that after a raid on a termite nest, the injured ants are cared for by their comrades. If kept by themselves, 80 percent of injured ants died. But if cared for by their nest-mates for even an hour, only a tenth died. Another finding of the study reveals how the ants prioritize who gets cared for and who doesn’t. In human health care, doctors decide which patients need to be helped the most. With ants, it’s the exact opposite. The injured ants themselves decide if they should be treated or not. When no help was in sight, injured ants made a beeline for the nest. But when nest-mates were near, they stumbled and fell, appearing “more injured” as a way to attract aid. But the ants play up their injuries only if they sensed that their problems were minor enough to be treated. If ants were mortally injured, they refused to cooperate, flailing their legs around when probed or picked up, forcing their helpers to abandon them. The mortally wounded ants choose to die rather than have energy and resources wasted on their futile rehabilitation. This discovery marks the first time non-human animals have been observed systematically nursing their wounded back to health.

Read more in “‘Paramedic’ Ants Are the First to Rescue and Heal Their Wounded Comrades”

Self-Sacrificing Ants Refuse Treatment of Their Wounds | National Geographic

National Geographic



  • National Geographic on February 20, 2018

    These termite-ants have their own unique health system where they care for each other's injuries, even if it sometimes means you refuse care. What similarities and differences do you find between this relationship the ants have with each other and the patient-doctor interactions humans have?

  • Cleeon Virlief on February 1, 2021

    How they do it with only very small brain 🤔

  • Nick Whitey on February 11, 2021

    George: I’ll help you!!
    Phil: Do not deny me my warrior’s death!
    George: It doesn’t have to end like this…
    George: Till Valhalla brother
    Phil: WITNESS ME!!!
    Phil charges the enemy

  • JimHarm on February 16, 2021

    Wow, fascinating!!

  • Jon-Paul Leigh on February 22, 2021

    God reveals so much wisdom & beauty in creation, even in ants. ~Proverbs 6:6-8 Go to the Ant, O' sluggard, observe her ways & be wise, which having no chief, Officer or ruler, Prepares her food in the summer, & gathers her provision in the harvest. ~Proverbs 30:24-25 Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise. The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer

  • Bomber Joe on March 21, 2021

    I love this clip …

  • rawg on March 22, 2021

    Saving private ryANT

  • Ted Overholt on March 22, 2021

    The Creator

  • PinoyGuitaristDad on March 23, 2021

    What is the title of the background music?

  • flowersandcandy flowersandcandy on March 26, 2021

    But non of these ants are so called celebrities, that are overpaid with bodyguards and think they are better then all the rest.

  • Tommy Cordero on March 28, 2021

    Band of brothers.💪

  • ROCKY FF on March 28, 2021

    Get set fly🤣🤣

  • Sahaj Manandhar on April 3, 2021

    Truly inspirational

  • JC on April 8, 2021

    This can be open to interpretation although I do believe certain animals have the ability to think so methodically

  • Mike Huntt on April 8, 2021

    Marines do too.

  • Santtu on May 1, 2021

    brave sisters

  • Bella Nova on May 7, 2021

    Anybody know what this song is? Also, why am I almost in tears?

  • Furan Duron on May 9, 2021


  • çŁøÑę on May 16, 2021

    They have medics on site, they should have been called army ants 💯

  • AHMAD FARHAN on June 8, 2021

    i cried!

  • Syahrul Fauzi on June 8, 2021

    Kamikaze Ant

  • Leon Powe on June 10, 2021

    Another society with healthcare for all.

  • Sonia Azyu on June 17, 2021

    Idk if they have heart but this energy touch my heart🥺🥺🥺

  • MysticalSpace on June 17, 2021

    Why is it that ants can help the injured but humans(The most intelligent creature on earth)Can’t even help each other

  • Surah An Naml – semut.
    Ayat Al-Quran.. Moga-moga Allah berikan taufik kepadaku untuk menunaikan hak Al-Quran begitu juga ahli keluargaku dan seterusnya umat Nabi Muhammad..aamiin.Allahumma Solli'Ala Sayyidina Muhammad Wa'Ala Aali Sayyidina Muhammad ♥️🥰

  • Muthu Kumaran Lekshmanan on July 7, 2021

    In nature if one pays close attention one can see that various aspects keep manifesting in a recurring fashion in different ways in different forms by different means in different circumstances because they were emergent from the same methods of manifesting currently understood as evolution over the enormity of time…so we need to understand that we are a part of that play whether we realize it or not…whether we do things intentionally or not…there are bigger plays going on not easily 'seen' through the limited time window of our lives as a species even…

  • Osman Khalid on July 11, 2021

    still, we see ants carrying dead (or severely injured) ants, despite they refused help.

  • Pumpkin spice on July 26, 2021

    Uh im never gonna kill native ants anymore

  • hi19april on September 6, 2021


  • Ken on September 19, 2021

    I'm sorry for hurting those innocent beings when I was a kid. I didn't know they had feelings.

  • Spoopy Man877 on September 20, 2021

    Ants(tiny bug version of a human)

  • nouva blast on September 30, 2021

    michelle k davis

  • Немецкий on November 13, 2021

    The dislikes are 555 and 555 means Hahaha in Thai even though I am not thai.

  • Haxkovynski on November 20, 2021

    we need to be more like ants

  • Dinorex on December 18, 2021

    I will never stop being amazed by how spectacular these creatures are.
    So small and yet so big at the same time.

  • Big Chief on February 17, 2022

    these ants have better medics than my battlefield squad

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