A2 Information Report

A Place to Call Home

Every living thing, whether human or animal, needs a place to call home. We humans are lucky that our houses are usually built by expert builders. It is all ready when we want to move in. However, most animals build their homes from scratch with just their paws, claws, or beaks!

Animals naturally know how to build homes that perfectly suit their special needs. Some of these homes would make the best human designers jealous! Come join us for a tour of the homes of some fantastic animal builders.

Clever Termites
Termites are insects that look like ants but are actually part of the cockroach family! Termites live together in huge colonies. There may be millions of them in a colony. Most termites build nests sticking out of the ground called mounds. They use some of their own poop and earth.

Cathedral termites build cathedral-like mounds that can reach up to eight meters high! A cathedral is a large church. Proportionate to their size, these tiny termites have the tallest homes in the animal kingdom. This means if they were as big as a human, their house would be as tall as a skyscraper. These ‘skyscrapers’ have become a tourist attraction in Australia’s Northern Territories. Scientists recently found that this type of termites used to build their nests high up in trees. Maybe this is why their new homes are built to reach the sky.

Compass termites are also found in North Australia. They are also known as magnetic termites but this is not because they are actually magnetic. The tall mounds they build are shaped like flat pieces of rock and amazingly all face the north! This design allows the sun to warm up the mounds quickly in the morning but stops it from getting too hot at noon.

Wonderful Weavers
Weaver ants also live in huge colonies. Their homes however are on trees. These creatures ‘weave’ their nests out of living leaves. They weave much like a person would weave cloth. They work together to pull and bend leaves and then use silk from their larvae to stick the leaves in place. Each nest can be as big as a human head and a colony can build and use hundreds of nests on one or more trees.

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colony – a family of animals or plants of one kind living close together
proportionate – looking at the size compared to others or something else.
larvae – the baby of an insect which looks like a worm.
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