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13 Amazing Animal Architects & Their Homes

From the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, through Michelangelo and Thomas Jefferson, humanity’s history has been full of great architects and architecture. Humans, though, were not the first ones to build structures to be used for dwelling – some animals have been building intricate structures while humans were still living in caves. Behold nature’s most amazing architects:

1. The Red Ovenbird

Made of clay and mud, these nests protect the Red Ovenbirds from predators and if abandoned, they’re used as a new home for other birds.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: merlinsilk.com,Eric Henrique

2. Montezuma Oropendola

The Montezuma Oropendola use vines and grass to build colonies of up to 30 individuals, comprising of an alpha male and his harem of females.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: Andrew Block, Simon Valdez

3. The Sociable Weaver

Native to Southern Africa, the Sociable Weavers build huge communal nests that host hundreds of the little flyers, many of whom are part of the same family. Using sticks and grass, the weavers make these permanent homes, using the inner chambers of the nests to stay warm during the cold season.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources:  Mike SoroczynskiTyneWear-RobLinda De Volder, Dillon Marsh, Denis Roschlau

4. Swallows

Some Swallow species build nests out of various materials, some scavenge for abandoned nests, but some species choose to build their nests using their own saliva. (In some places, these edible nests are considered a real delicacy...)

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: Saurav Pandey, thetransientbiologist.wordpress.com, Sabyasachi Kolkata

5. The Vogelkop Bowerbird

These small huts (called bowers), comprised of grass and sticks, are built by the male Vogelkops in order to attract potential mates. To make their huts look even more successful, the Vogelkops arrange berries, sticks, beetles, etc. outside. Oddly enough, the bowers are later abandoned and not used for raising their young.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources:  Ingo Arndt,thewildernessalternative.com, cannedyams.wordpress.com

6. The Baya Weaver

To protect themselves from predators, the Baya Weaver birds build their nests in Acacia trees and thorny palms. While the weavers are often found in colonies, the occasional lone nests do exist.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: Ingo Arndt, Ramnath BhatFarhan Younus, subroto

7. Australian Weaver Ants

Native to Central Africa and South-East Asia, the Weaver Ants use live leaves bound by silk they produce to make their nests. While smaller nests are made of a single leaf, some nests can reach sizes of half a meter, comprised of many leaves.

Animal Architects
Source: Ingo Arndt

8. European Red Wood Ants

The European Red Wood Ants build their anthills in huge mounds on forest floors. The colony will often build several mounds, interconnected with the main hill, and would move to the adjacent mounds if the main one is damaged beyond repair.

Animal Architects
Source: Ingo Arndt

9. The Caddisfly

When the Caddisfly larva reaches its time to pupate, it weaves a cocoon out of sand, shells and pebbles, with silk it produces, providing itself with a safe, armored place in which to mature.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: heatherkh, Jan Hamrsky

10. Compass Termites

These huge wedges are the nests of the Compass Termite. The wedges are generally north-south oriented, which gave these insects their unusual name. It is believed that they mounds are build that way to regulate the temperature of the underground nests. 

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources:  Ingo Arndtdabendansbookshelf.wordpress.com, Travel NT

11. Wasps

Most wasps actually don’t build nests (preferring solitary life or as parasites), but social wasps build paper nests by mixing plant pulp with their saliva.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Sources: Antoinette, crabcaked

12. Bees

Bees’ entire lives are based on their amazing nests. Made out of wax, they are born, eat and raise their young in these nests.

Animal Architects
 
Animal Architects
Source: Damian Biniek

13. Beavers

Beavers are famous for building dams. These wood and grass structures are built to flood a certain area with water, while the beavers use the underwater entrance to the damn in order to avoid predators and make fishing easier. The largest known damn is nearly a kilometer (3000 feet) long, and is located in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park.

Animal Architects
Source: Ingo Arndt
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