9 Unusually Detailed Animal Habitats

See how birds, oysters, snails, caterpillars, moths, and more rely on their inventive natures to create the perfect nesting place.

View as Slideshow

Male Baya Weaver

Ingo Arndt

A male Baya Weaver in Namibia builds a waterproof nest from blades of grass that dry in the sun. Then his intended mate decides whether it's good enough. If she rejects it, he might tear it apart and start over.

Carrier Snails

Ingo Arndt

Carrier snails make mobile castles by mounting pebbles and mollusk shells on their cases. It can take a snail ten hours to mount each new object, with the help of sticky secretions.

Thorny Oyster

Ingo Arndt

Lime (a calcium compound) is used in human-home construction, but sea creatures such as this thorny oyster in Thailand rely on it as well; in fact, sea organisms have been building body shells from lime for estimated 600 million years.

Content continues below ad

Moths

Ingo Arndt

Moths have their own artistry. Buff-tip moth larvae in Hungary live together and build a protective web around their fodder plant.

Penduline Tit

Ingo Arndt

This Eurasian Penduline Tit nest, made with poplar and willow seeds, is nearly predator-proof because of its shape and tight weave.

Hummingbird

Ingo Arndt

A Steely-vented Hummingbird nest in Central America is made from plant fibers, moss, and animal hair. It's well camouflaged in a shrub, bush, or tree, and is built to stretch to almost double its size as the chicks grow. Only the females are involved in nest-building.

Content continues below ad

Reed Warbler

Ingo Arndt

True to her name, the Eurasian Reed Warbler builds her cup-shaped nest on reeds; both mom and dad incubate and feed the babies. Unfortunately, these elegant dwellings attract unwanted house guests: European cuckoos like to deposit one of their own eggs here, leaving the "foster parents" to nurture their newborns.

Baya Weaver

Ingo Arndt

Weaver nests hang from trees and are sometimes joined to make communal homes.

Caterpillar

Ingo Arndt

Having reached caterpillar stage, the future moths feed in the open.

Content continues below ad

Animal Architecture

Ingo Arndt

To see more wild animal artistry, pick up "Animal Architecture" here.


Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.