5Social Weaver Birds and Their Sky Condominiums
Social weavers are kind of the Hilton family of the bird world. Not only do they build the biggest nests of any bird, but the constructions are permanent -- housing hundreds of birds over several generations. And they actually rent out the extra rooms to birds of other species.
Via Harald Süpfle
They'll rent by the hour if you talk to Guido.
Their housing projects are as elaborate and decadent as any human condo, considering all of their decor is made of twigs. One pair of birds occupies each chamber, which is further subdivided into several rooms with entrances below the nest. The inner rooms retain heat and are used during the night, while the outside rooms are actually cooler than their surroundings and are used during the day. They'd have a large outdoor spa if they could figure out how to make the bubbles work.
Social weaver nests are so sturdy that they can last for hundreds of years, and the birds can even booby-trap the entrances with sharp sticks if they're vulnerable to snake infiltration. Life in the nest is so snug that other kinds of bird, even carnivorous pygmy falcons, are known to move in under the condition that they don't eat anybody.
They're like the YMCA for birds, and without the shower rape
You might think you learned everything you need to know about gophers from Caddyshack, the film classic in which Bill Murray is driven insane by a single gopher digging holes in his golf course. Surprisingly, this is misleading as a nature documentary, and if Murray's character knew what was really going on behind the scenes, he probably would have climbed a clock tower with a sniper rifle years before.
"Is there a problem, asshole? That's what I thought. Walk away."
Gophers' burrows are really called "towns," owing to the fact that they can spread hundreds of acres and contain thousands of rodents at a time. They keep themselves relatively self-sufficient by hoarding an incredible amount of food from the area above, which they smuggle back into town inside their cheeks.
By Tim Gunther.
And if that bird doesn't cool its shit, it's going to get itself smuggled.
Their underground tunnels are astonishingly well organized, with rooms for sleeping, for keeping warm in winter and even nurseries for junior gophers. On top of that, they (like the termites) have air chambers to regulate temperature. You might be thinking that an underground city is particularly susceptible to flooding, but the gophers have that covered. They actually build freaking levees around the entrances and laugh at any creature that hasn't developed the technology to withstand natural disasters.
On top of all this, your typical gopher town is as well protected from enemy invasion as Helm's Deep. The gophers have little watchtowers which are formed from the dirt they dug out of their tunnels. Gophers will stand on top of their mounds and silently watch for enemies.
When the gopher on duty (we assume they work in shifts) sees something suspicious, it sends a high-pitched whistle into the burrow and all the gopher archers and gopher berserkers arm the walls and brace the main gates. We only made some of that last part up.
Four seconds after this photo, they called him "Lefty."