Hideouts and Strongholds
Humans aren’t the only creatures that create homes and hideouts. Insects, birds, and other animals create their own elaborate structures, too. Today, you’ll dive underwater to visit a beaver’s lodge, crawl deep into the twisting tunnels of an ant colony, tangle with an Orb spider as it carefully creates its web, and more. Who knows? Maybe your next fort will look less like a castle and more like a bird’s nest.
Ask About Today
Which animal home or hideout do you think would be the coziest to live in? Why?
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Beavers: Nature’s Best Builders?
Besides humans, beavers alter their environment more than any other animal—and they make some of the best hideouts in the world. Safely sitting in the middle of ponds created by their dams, beaver lodges boast underwater entrances and an extra tough shell of sticks and branches. Meet these amazing animals and watch them at work in this 25-minute documentary from National Geographic Kids.
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Into an Ant Fortress
What’s inside an ant hill? Below that mound of dirt you see on the surface lies a sprawling complex of ant tunnels, some stretching two meters underground. See how they’re built and why they’re shaped the way they are in this video from Science Insider.
Meet the Baya Weaver
The Baya Weaver is one crafty little bird. It collects and weaves together pieces of grass to create beautiful, basket-like nests. Let’s watch one at work.
A Spider’s (Almost) Invisible Fort
Spiders make some of the coolest forts in nature, with webs so thin you can hardly see them, yet tough enough to capture insects (and sometimes your face, if you’re not watching where you’re going). See how an Orb spider constructs its web in this video from BBC Earth.
What About Buildings Shaped Like Animals?
Make a Spiderweb in Your Room
Turn your room into a spider’s fortress by weaving a web of your own. All you need is some string or yarn and tape (or a few places to use as anchors for your web). Bonus: This also makes for a great Halloween decoration.
Draw a Building Shaped Like an Animal
No yarn? No problem. Get a sheet of paper and try drawing a building shaped like an animal—a house-turtle, perhaps, or a shark-skyscraper, or an owl-apartment. What’s the weirdest combo you can dream up?
Find Some Animal Hideouts
When the time is right, go on a walk around your neighborhood with a friend or family member and search for animal hideouts. Watch where the birds go, look for traces of squirrels, chipmunks, or moles, and follow a few bees, ants, or beetles. Where do they make their homes? How many different types of animal hideouts can you find? Do you notice anything similar or different about the ones in your area?
Be safe: Always check with an adult before heading outside!