Why Do Ants Visit The Zoo on Cold Days? (Explained)

There is a popular joke, riddle, and question about ants visiting the zoo when it’s chilly outside.

Why do ants visit the zoo on cold days?

The answer to the joke is that ants visit the zoo on cold days to get closer to the ant heater. The phrase “ant heater” sounds like “anteater,” the animal. Ants also visit the zoo to find food on cold and warm days. Ants live at the zoo all year round in ant nests.

In this article, we’ll cover all the possible reasons ants visit the zoo on cold days.

Why Do Ants Visit the Zoo on Cold Days? (The Joke Explained)

(This post may have affiliate links. Please see my full affiliate disclosure)
Cartoon Ant Carrying a Leaf - Why Do Ants Visit The Zoo on Cold Days
Cute ant image by the author via Canva – Why Do Ants Visit The Zoo on Cold Days?

Have you ever heard the joke, “Why do ants visit the zoo on cold days? To find an ant heater.”?

It’s a classic “Dad Joke.”

But what makes this joke so funny? Is it the play on words? The absurd logic?

Let’s take a closer look. First, we have to understand what an “ant heater” is. An ant heater is simply a device that keeps the ants warm on cold days. Also, it doesn’t really exist.

But what does this have to do with visiting the zoo?

Well, the answer to that lies in the second part of the joke: the punchline. You see, an Ant Eater doesn’t keep the ants warm, it eats them!

So, the punchline of the joke is that the ants are looking for something that doesn’t exist (an ant heater). But ant heater sounds like “anteater.”

This play on words and meanings is what makes the joke so ridiculous and funny.

It’s unexpected and illogical, which is why we can’t help but laugh at it. So, the next time you hear this joke, take a moment to appreciate its clever construction. And then laugh away!

Other Answers To The Joke

What you might not know is that there are several other answers to the joke, “Why do ants visit the zoo on cold days?”

Here are some other silly punchlines you can use:

  • Because they can’t BEAR being out in the cold.
  • To warm up in the Jungle area.
  • Because the bees make them SWARM.
  • They have season passes.

Each one of these answers is as silly as the answer about anteaters. The word “bear” has a double meaning that makes it funny. The jungle area of a zoo probably isn’t as warm as the actual jungle but that’s the silly idea.

A bee “swarm” almost sounds like “warm.”

The last punchline is a surprisingly logical answer and is also my personal favorite.

3 Real Reasons Ants Visit the Zoo on Cold Days

There are also real reasons why ants might visit the zoo on cold days.

Here are the top 3 reasons:

  • The ants live there
  • The ants are looking for food
  • The ants need a place to get warm

The Ants Live There

Ants are amazing creatures. They are able to lift objects many times their own body weight and can build incredible nests out of the most unlikely materials.

Given their prodigious building skills, it’s not surprising that ants are often drawn to locations where they can put their abilities to good use.

One such place is a zoo.

Zoos provide ants with a ready supply of food and shelter, and the large open spaces make it easy for them to build their nests. There is also plenty of protection from predators.

As a result, a zoo can be the perfect place for ants to make a home.

The Ants Are Searching for Food

It’s no secret that ants are attracted to food.

Whether it’s a picnic in the park or a fallen crumb on the kitchen floor, these tiny creatures are always on the hunt for a meal. So, it should come as no surprise that ants also frequent zoos on cold days in search of a tasty treat.

After all, zoos provide a veritable buffet of food droppings for these opportunistic insects.

From salty snacks to surgery treats, there’s something for everyone at the zoo – and that includes ants!

One of the most popular items on the ant menu at the zoo is popcorn.

Popcorn kernels are the perfect size for an ant to carry, and the salt content makes them especially irresistible. Zoo staff often see ants scurrying away with popcorn kernels in their mouthparts, and it’s not completely uncommon for entire colonies to descend on a single unsupervised popcorn stand.

If you’re planning to enjoy a bag of popcorn at the zoo, be sure to keep an eye out for inquisitive ants.

Another common item on the ant zoo menu is cotton candy. Like popcorn, cotton candy is easy for ants to carry and provides a sweet treat that these insects crave.

The Ants Need a Place to Get Warm

This brings up back to the riddle and joke.

Just because it’s a silly joke doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold some truth. Ants, like almost all other creatures, get cold sometimes. When they get cold, they might visit a zoo to find a place to warm up.

Perhaps, that’s inside a heated exhibit, food stand, or bathroom.

Other Jokes & Riddles About Ants

Here are some other jokes related to ants:

  • Why did the ant cross the road? (Because he’s catholic)
  • What do you call an ant that was stung by an ant? (An unhappy ant)
  • What do you call an ant that skips class? (A truant)
  • What do you call an ant with manners? (Pleasant)

How Else To Say the Joke About Ants and the Zoo

The great thing about the joke-riddle, “Why do ants visit the zoo on cold days?” is that you can swap out ants for any other insect or animal and it still makes sense.

You could ask:

  • Why do spiders visit the zoo on cold days? (To get close to the ant heater)
  • Why do cats visit the zoo on cold days? (To be near the ant heater)
  • Why do birds visit the zoo on cold days? (To find the ant heater)

You get my drift.

Any animal, insect, or bug fits into the joke. That’s what makes it such a versatile riddle for anyone to enjoy.

Speaking of jokes, here is a good video with some great jokes about animals:

YouTube Video by Learn Funny Jokes – Why Do Ants Visit the Zoo on Cold Days?

Other Fun FAQs About Ants

Do Ants Have Feelings?

While we may not always see eye to eye with our ant brethren, it’s important to remember that they are living creatures just like us.

And while they may not be as vocal as we are about their emotions, that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes feel things just as deeply as we do.

After all, ants are social creatures who live in close-knit colonies.

They care for their young, work together to build their homes, and risk their lives to protect their friends.

Ant feelings usually come down to seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, not the more complex emotions of fragility and remorse.

Do Ants Have Brains?

The answer is yes (with a caveat).

Ants do have a central nervous system, but their brain is very different from ours. For one thing, some species of ant have as many as 250,000 neurons (humans have billions). However, ant neurons are spread throughout their body, rather than being concentrated in one area like our brains.

As a result, ants don’t have the same kind of sophisticated cognition that we do.

That doesn’t mean that ants are dumb, however. They may not be able to think as we do, but they are incredibly efficient at carrying out tasks.

They also possess a kind of “hive brain” that connects the entire colony.

Do Ants Have Hearts?

Yes, ants have hearts but they are decidedly different than our own.

To understand an ant’s heart, you must know how they breathe. Did you know that ants don’t have lungs? Instead, they breathe through small openings that cover most of their ant bodies.

They also release carbon dioxide through these same little openings.

So, how do they circulate oxygen throughout their bodies? That’s where their heart comes in.

An ant’s tube-like heart pumps blood back and forth from one end of their body to the other.

Final Thoughts: Why Do Ants Visit the Zoo on Cold Days?

No matter if you’re looking for real facts or the answer to the joke, I hope you’ve found your answer to, “Why do ants visit the zoo on cold days?”

We have lots of other articles on the site about animals and cold weather. Check out a few before you go.

Related Posts:


Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Ant Research)

Scroll to Top