Animal House, an incredible romp through nature exploring the master builders of the animal world and revealing the ingenious secrets of wildlife, premieres Sunday, November 27, at 6.30pm on Channel Nine.
It is said that you never really know a person until you enter their home. The same may be true of animals. Whether using their homes to bring up their young, for defence or shelter, nature’s amazing architects reveal their fears and intelligence as they try to build the perfect animal house.
This beautifully filmed program, narrated by the peerless Sir David Attenborough, travels the world to find extraordinary examples of the animal kingdom’s best builders – from the prairie dogs of North America to the cormorants of the Galapagos Islands.
The story starts with the most ambitious animal builder in the world – the very eager beaver. Up to a mile or more of river can be taken over by a single beaver family. Yet even their water fortress can be upset by an intruder – the pesky muskrat.
We come across prairie dogs that live in an underground colony called a “dog town”. Elsewhere, saliva finds its use as a building tool for remarkable nests of swifts perched high in the caves of jungly Borneo.
Bronzy hermit hummingbirds steal silk from spider webs to make cup-like nests where they hang their chicks. Flightless cormorants use seaweed, gathered underwater by the male who sometimes also brings in live sea urchins for nest decoration.
Many animal builders employ teamwork to build their elaborate homes. Termites provide an insight into the wonders that can be achieved, with towering architecture, air conditioning and temperature control, gardens and water wells. Scaled to human size, a termite’s home would be over 1600 metres high!
But perhaps the ultimate example of teamwork in home building is the army ant. This incredible creature constructs a “living” home from ants themselves.
From baboons that sleep in caves in Kenya to animals that never leave home, like the star-nosed mole, this engaging and intriguing film will draw you in to the secrets and surprises of unique animal homes all over the world.
Animal House: Sunday, November 27, at 6.30pm on Channel Nine