Leaf-cutter ants go on the run at Chiswell Green’s Butterfly World

The leaf-cutter ants scattered across the floor

The leaf-cutter ants scattered across the floor - Credit: Archant

MORE than 3,000 ants spilled onto the floor of a Butterfly World exhibit on Friday morning after their suspended rope walkway fell overnight.

Louise Hawkins, a lepidopterist and ecologist at the Chiswell Green wildlife centre, discovered the leaf-cutter ants roaming around at 8.30am.

She spent around four hours collecting up them up with a dustpan and brush to put them back in their tank but continued to find them as the day went on.

She said: “They were absolutely everywhere!”

Although creating complete havoc on Friday, Louise said the ants were “very clever”.

One of their reported tricks is putting soil in the water moats which keep them enclosed in order to escape.

The ants are extremely popular and are “probably equal to the butterflies” in their number of visitors according to Louise.

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They are not the only insects prone to escaping, as she explained: “We have butterflies going out on people’s clothes too.”

Butterfly World is currently closed until March 25.