When we think of structures, our minds usually wander to “man made” things, but we often forget to think about animals. Animals are just as capable, if not more, of building intricate structures. These 25 animal-built structures are shocking to say the least – I had no idea they were capable of such feats!
#1. Puffer Fish Circles: This 7 foot diameter formation is designed to attract a mate and have her lay eggs in the center.
#2. Paper Wasps Nest: The paper wasp is known for using fibers from dead wood and plant stems to construct their nests. In one particular instance, researchers from the University of Illinois gave the wasps colored papers resulting in a colorfully constructed nest.
#3. Mysterious Web Tower: First spotted by Georgia Tech graduate student Troy Alexander, the origin of this bizarre looking web tower was unknown. However, thanks to a research expedition team it was revealed that this weird web tower is in fact a spider egg sac. Scientists however are still baffled as to what kind of Spider would produce this.
#4. Mud Dauber Prisons: These wasps create prisons where they capture spiders for consumption and imprison some of them in asylums built out of wasp barf and mud.
#5. Montezuma Oropendola Nests: These birds use vines to create hanging baskets that are then grouped together into colonies. They’re used to ward off raiding monkeys looking for bird eggs.
#6. Mega Colony in Southern Europe: The largest ant colony in the world today is located in Southern Europe and is home to 33 separate ant populations running along a 3,731 mile stretch of the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.
#7. Magnetic Termite Mounds: Reaching almost two meters high, tens of thousand of “magnetic” termites can be found in these Australian mounds. It’s believed that this bizarre architecture helps the termites cope with the hot Australian climate and keeps them from getting overheated.
#8. Leaf Curling Spider: The Australian leaf-cutting spider creates an enclosure by curling a dead leaf and lining it with silk.
#9. Largest Anthill: These northern wood ant hills are the biggest ever recorded. They can measure up to 7 feet tall and house an estimated 500,000 insects.
#10. The Great Barrier Reef: Known as the single greatest structure built by living organisms, the great reef is composed of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands spanning over 1600 miles.
#11. Gossamer Trees: In 2010, flooding in Pakistan caused millions of spiders to seek refuge in trees, eventually covering them in dread-evoking webs.
#12. Gopher Towns: These burrows can span hundreds of acres and contain hundreds or even thousands of rodents.
#13. Flower Sandwiches: This floral contraption is a bee nest created by the rare Osmia avosetta bees. Made into a three tier chamber, the outside consists of a thin layer of petals, a layer or mud, and an additional layer of petals.
#14. Edible Nest Swiftlet: This nest is made out of solidified bird saliva and is even considered an edible delicacy by humans. Eww.
#15. Chimpanzee Beds: Taking branches from specific trees, chimps create beds high up in the canopies to make the ideal night time sleeping spot away from ground predators.
#16. Caddisfly Jewelry: Typically these creatures construct elaborate protective tubes from material found near them, including wood, fish bone, sand, etc. Here though, French artist Hubert Duprat provided gold and preceious stones for an amazing effect.
#17. Beaver Lodges: Beavers use severed branches and mud to create a covered enclosure that protects them from predators such as wolves.
#18. Beaver Dams: Incredibly recognizable, the beaver dam is typically about 100 meters in length and can be the source of extensive property damage by encouraging flooding and water way passage restriction. However, these dams can also be very beneficial when restoring wetlands. To date, the largest recorded beaver dam is located in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada and measures 850 meters in length.
#19. Ant Nests in Northern Territory Australia: These green ants, famous for their nesting ability, create nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk, in an incredible display of cooperation.
#20. Amicta Cocoons: This orthogonal structure is created by the female Amicta quadrangularis for pupation. It’s formed out of bits of grass stems and measures about 1.1 inch long and 0.2 to 0.3 inches square.
#21. Vogelko Gardener Bowerbird Bower: Creating cone-shaped hut structures 100 cm high and 160 cm in diameter, these birds use sticks to hold up their masterpiece. They’ll then clear out the front law of debris and add some moss.
#22. Trapdoor Spider: The trapdoor spider is one scary bug. It makes an elaborate home complete with a fully hinged door that it uses as a booby trap for its prey.
#23. Spongilla Fly Cocoon: The Spongefly creates this bizarre and oddly beautiful cocoon when pupating.
#24. Social Weaver Birds: Known for building the biggest nests in the bird world, these places are capable of housing hundreds of birds for several generations and can be as large as 25 feets wide, 5 feet high, and weigh over one ton. Some nests are even known to have survived over a hundred years.
#25. Rufous Hornero Nest: Unlike other birds, this one creates its nest using mud and dung.
Animals are absolutely fascinating, especially when we look at the structures they are capable of building! Don’t forget to share with your friends 🙂