"It might look kind of scary to a casual observer," (keeper Becca) Van Beek said. “She’ll grab Mo by the scruff of the neck and dunk him in the water. But that’s a very natural behavior. Baby otters are extremely buoyant, so Mo has built-in water wings for his swim lessons. This is how baby otters learn to swim, and it’s exactly what we’ve been hoping to see.”
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology explain that these ants can link their bodies together, forming waterproof rafts that behave much like an active material capable of changing state from a solid to a liquid. The ants can drip, spread and coagulate; and this transition helps them survive rainfall and crashing waves.
In a statement, the APS compares the structure’s behavior to Jell-O and toothpaste, stating that they are all “viscoelastic” materials capable of resisting flow under stress and reverting to their original shape like rubber bands. The fire ant rafts do not behave exactly like solids or liquids, but as a kind of hybrid of the two.