13 animal architects and their magnificent constructions

The wonderful world of animal houses

Your dog or cat is certainly happy for you to give it a kennel or a place to sleep every night (and day). Out in the wild, most animals are content just to find a slightly softer, more sheltered place to sleep for the night. But there are also wild animals who build the best homes for themselves , from pretty, cosy nests to truly genius constructions! These 13 animals are among the finest architects the animal kingdom has to offer.

The construction of dwellings is probably the closest thing animals have to us humans, especially in the way they make them. These animals carry twigs, sticks and leaves for future use, such as building a nest or a dam (for beavers). But they won’t use them for anything else, just as a chimpanzee might use a stick to hunt termites, for example.

You’ll see that these animal habitats are the work of a renowned architect!

Social Republican

The social republican, native to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, weaves huge collective nests that can accommodate hundreds of birds across several generations. These nests, woven from sticks and grass, are permanent. The deep inner chambers maintain a higher temperature at night, keeping the birds warm.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Oecophylla ants

Weaver ants, which live in Central Africa and Southeast Asia, live in trees and weave nests from tree leaves still attached to their branches, which they tie together with the silk thread of their larvae. These nests can vary in size from a single leaf to several glued together up to half a meter in length.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Brown gardener

The male brown gardener creates arbors, or little huts, from grass and sticks to attract females to mate with. He builds these kinds of little huts on the ground, lining the floor with moss and decorating his construction with pieces of wood and stones. They then decorate the nest with mushrooms, berries, flowers or feathers. However, the nest is not used for raising young, but merely as a place to attract females…
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Compass termites

Compass termites build large mounds of earth. Their dwellings are more or less oriented north-south, giving them their name. This shape is thought to keep their mounds thermoregulated.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Bees

The best-known bee is raised by man in a house called a hive. It lives in society. Their home, in the form of wax cells, is fascinating and exciting. To find out more, watch the life of bees in a hive in 1 minute.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Rusty wood ants

Redwood ants build large mounds on the forest floor to house their nests. The upper parts of their anthills are domes of twigs up to 1.50 m high, often located at the edge of wooded plots or in small clearings. The purpose of the anthill is to protect the queen or queens and the brood. It provides the colony with security and shelter from the elements.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Red Fourniers

The Red Bakewell builds its oven-shaped nest from clay and mud. These sturdy nests help protect them from predators and, once abandoned, can be used by other birds as a relatively safe place to live.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Baya Weaver

Baya Weavers are remarkable for their nests, intricate constructions of woven grass strips elegantly suspended from trees, earning them, as with other Ploceidae, the name weaver. Their nests are pear-shaped and made of dried grasses and leaves woven together, making the construction surprisingly solid. To build a medium-sized nest, the male has to pluck between 500 and 1,000 ribbons of grass, 30 to 60 cm long, then attract a female with his calls.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Wasps

A wasp’s nest is made of papier-mâché, or papier-mâché paper, which they build by superficially trimming bark, stakes, stumps (wood, in short)… These paper nests have the advantage of being light and « breathable » on hot summer days, but they are only useful for one year, as the weather in autumn and winter destroys them. The new queens will start building a new nest in the spring.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Beavers

Beavers build dams to flood wooded areas to a certain depth. They then build submerged entrances that enable them to avoid predators and hunt for food in winter. Their dams can be quite substantial: the largest known beaver dam, in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, measures some 850 m in length.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Cassiques de Montezuma

The Montezuma cassowary generally builds its nest in a tree somewhat isolated from others. They usually live in colonies of around 30 birds, which include a dominant male who mates with the females.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Swallows

Swallows build nests from a variety of materials, and some don’t even need to build one, preferring to nest in abandoned cavities. Some swallow species, however, create their nests mainly from their own saliva. These nests are edible, and are considered a delicacy by some. To prepare and eat a swallow’s nest, first remove all impurities and feathers. Then cook it for over three hours in boiling water. It then disintegrates into numerous particles of white fiber. This substance is used to make dishes such as the famous swallow’s nest soup.
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Trichoptera

Trichoptera larvae are essentially aquatic and are well known to anglers. If you look under stones in streams or among dead vegetation in ponds, you’ll easily come across these strange creatures. Many make a protective silk sheath to which they attach various materials: twigs, sand, microshells, leaves, etc. Only the head and thorax emerge from the sheath, enabling the insect to walk around with its home. This feature has earned them the nickname of « wood-carriers ».
Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Animaux architectes, habitation des animaux, construction

Were you impressed by the homes of these animals and insects?

Source: FastCoDesign