Best animal builders in the world

Posted on Sep 15, 2010 in Size, Skills

Best inbuilt ventilation – The termite mound

Termites construct incredibly complex structures which may house up to 5 million termites. While there is so much to admire, their ventilation system is especially ingenious. Wind passing over openings on top of the mound decreases the air pressure drawing clean air into openings at the mound’s base and through its passageways.

 

© Paul Stevenson – flickr

Best engineers – The beaver

Using their strong teeth to cut through bark, beavers build dams. These dams offer protection against predators such as wolves by allowing the beavers to create deep enough ponds to build their homes. These homes  are known as lodges and have underwater entrances making it impossible for predators to access. Beavers also build canals to cleverly float food back to their lodge.

 

© Rui Ornelas – flickr

Best apartment block – The sociable weaver

These birds are called sociable for a reason and may live in groups of 500 in a huge ‘high rise apartment block’. The huge nest keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer and they work together to make sure it remains in tip-top condition all year round. They also share their nest with other birds such as falcons and finches. While vultures, eagles and owls may build their nest on the roof!

 

© Alastair Rae – flick

Sexiest nest – The southern masked weaver

In this species - nest building is a guy thing. And it’s a competitive business as females choose their mate based on the nest-building prowess. One way they attract the ladies is by using green vegetation to build with – this is because the fussy ladies prefer nests made from the freshest materials. Males may often fly over 200 miles to source their building materials.

 

© The Gut – flickr

Best bed makers – The chimpanzee

Most nights, chimpanzees build a new nest in which to sleep and they are usually built high up in trees – out of the reach of predators. First the chimp pulls several thick branches together and presses them down to make a stable platform. It then weaves thinner branches and twigs around the edge and uses broken twigs and leaves to provide padding for the centre of the bed.

 

© Clicksy- flickr

Largest web builder – Golden silk spider

This honours goes to the golden silk spider that lives in tropical rainforests. Their huge webs can measure ten feet across and are strong enough to trap small birds. The spider gets its name from its web, which has a distinct yellow colour that glitters like gold in sunlight.

 

© Ryan Somma – flickr

Best wasp builder – The potter wasp

This wasp derives its name, unsurprisingly, from the unusual pot-like nest that it builds. To build the nest the female potter wasp gathers droplets of water and mixes it with dirt to make mud. She uses her saliva to make the mud adhesive and then takes tiny chips of wood and sticks them to the mud. It may take the potter wasp half a day to build her nest from scratch.

 

Why aren’t bats birds?

© Mark Beech

Answer : In case you haven’t guessed, bats are not birds because they don’t have feathers.

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