13 Animal Architects And The Beautiful Homes They Build

Posted on Other Stuff 24

Most animals are content with finding a slightly softer and more sheltered space to sleep for the night, but there also wild animals out there that demand nothing but the finest accommodations. These 13 animals are some of the best architects that the animal kingdom has to offer.

Home building is probably the closest that many animals will come to tool use, in the sense that we think of it. It seems that the jury is still out on whether or not nest (or dam, in the beaver’s case) building can be considered to be tool use – these animals do carry sticks, twigs and leaves for intentional future use, but they don’t “use” them on other things the way a chimpanzee uses a stick to hunt termites or how we use keyboards to write articles about animals.

Sociable Weaver

1 Sociable Weaver

Image credits: Mike Soroczynski

2 Sociable Weaver

Image credits: TyneWear-Rob

3 Sociable Weaver

Image credits: Linda De Volder

4 Sociable Weaver

Image credits: Dillon Marsh

5 Sociable Weaver

Image credits: Denis Roschlau

The sociable weaver, native to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, weaves huge communal nests that can hosts hundreds of birds across multiple generations. These nests, woven from sticks and grass, are permanent. The deeper inner chambers maintain a higher temperature at night, allowing the birds to stay warm.

Australian Weaver Ants

6 Australian Weaver Ants

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

Weaver ants, which live in Central Africa and South-East Asia, pull together live leaves and use larval silk to glue them together. These nests can vary in size from a single leave to bunches of glued leaves up to half a meter in length.

Vogelkop Bowerbird

7 Vogelkop Bowerbird

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

8 Vogelkop Bowerbird

Image credits: thewildernessalternative.com

9 Vogelkop Bowerbird

Image credits: thewildernessalternative.com

10 Vogelkop Bowerbird

Image credits: cannedyams.wordpress.com

11 Vogelkop Bowerbird

Image credits: thewildernessalternative.com

The male Vogelkop bowerbird creates bowers, or small huts, out of grass and sticks to attract females to mate with. The consummate interior designers of the animal world, these birds arrange berries, beetles, flowers and other colorful and eye-catching ornaments into artistic arrangements to attract their mates. Ironically, the females do not actually use these bowers to raise their young.

Compass Termite

12 Compass Termite

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

13 Compass Termite

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14 Compass Termite

Image credits: Travel NT

The compass termite builds large wedge-shaped mounds for nests. These wedges are roughly oriented in a north-south orientation, which gives them their name. It is believed that this shape helps their mounds stay thermoregulated.


15 Honeybees

Image credits: Bigstock

16 Honeybees

Image credits: Damian Biniek

Honeybees’ entire lives revolve around their nests. It is in these nests, which they construct out of secreted wax, that they process their food and raise their young.

European Red Wood Ants

17 European Red Wood Ants

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

European red wood ants build large mounds on the forest floor to house their nests. Several of these mounds can be linked as mother-daughter mounds for the ants to switch between in the event of a catastrophic event at one o the mounds.

Red Ovenbird

18 Red Ovenbird

Image credits: merlinsilk.com

19 Red Ovenbird

Image credits: Eric Henrique

The red ovenbird builds its nest out of clay and mud. These strong nests help prevent predation and, once abandoned, can provide other birds with a relatively secure place to live.

Baya Weaver

20 Baya Weaver

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

21 Baya Weaver

Image credits: Ramnath Bhat

22 Baya Weaver

Image credits: Farhan Younus

23 Baya Weaver

Image credits: subroto

Baya weavers often build their elegant hanging woven nests in thorny palm and acacia trees or above bodies of water, where predators may have difficulty reaching them. The nests can often be found in colonies, although isolated ones do exist as well.


24 Wasp

Image credits: Antoinette

25 Wasp

Image credits: crabcaked

The majority of wasps actually do not actually build nests, preferring solitary or even parasitic arrangements. Social wasps, on the other hand, build elegant paper nests out of plant pulp, spit, resin and other materials. These consist of internal paper honeycomb tiers (similar to a honey bee’s comb in appearance but not material) surrounded by a paper wrapping.


26 Beavers

Image credits: Ingo Arndt

Beavers build damn to flood woodland areas to a certain depth. They then build submerged entrances that allow them to avoid predators and to hunt for food in the winter. Their dams can be truly massive – the largest known beaver damn, in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, is roughly 850m, or 2790 ft, in length. When the water is deep enough, they may sometimes live in burrows instead.

Montezuma Oropendola

27 Montezuma Oropendola

Image credits: Andrew Block

28 Montezuma Oropendola

Image credits: Simon Valdez

The Montezuma oropendola weaves its nests out of small vines and grass. They usually live in colonies of roughly 30 birds, which include a dominant male that mates with the females.


29 Swallow

Image credits: Saurav Pandey

30 Swallow

Image credits: thetransientbiologist.wordpress.com

31 Swallow

Image credits: Sabyasachi Kolkata

Swallows build nests out of various materials, and some don’t even build any at all, choosing instead to nest in found or abandoned cavities. Certain species of swallow, however, create their nests primarily out of their own saliva. These nests are edible, and are considered a delicacy by some.


32 Caddisfly

Image credits: heatherkh

33 Caddisfly

Image credits:Jan Hamrsky

When it’s time for the caddisfly to pupate, it spins a tough cocoon out of pebbles, sand, shells, and other lake- and river-bed detritus. It weaves these elements together with strands of its own silk to safely grow to adulthood.

20 Baya Weaver