The Animal House

About

Skyscrapers towering over major cities or spectacularly-designed bridges often come to mind when we think of great feats in architecture and engineering. However, some of the most amazing, creative, and innovative structures on earth are not man-made or urban at all, but residences built by animals in the natural world.

Termites across Africa’s plains build ten-foot-high mounds, temperature-controlled high-rises maintained by solar power and complete with flood contingency plans. Leaf and grass cutter ants move 40 tons of earth to create subterranean cities with highways, homes, farms, trash pits, and nurseries for 12 million residents. Army ants create living houses made entirely of their own bodies. Cave swiflets mold crystal nests from their gluey saliva. New Guinea’s male Vogelkop bowerbirds, meticulous interior decorators, use their artistic visions to woo. Beavers build enormous dams, changing the landscape to create a safe environment for their lodges. And hummingbirds delicately weave tiny camouflaged cradles out of cobwebs, grass, twigs, and leaves. Guided by instinct, animal architects build an remarkable variety of elaborate dwellings with their simple supplies. Every house suits the needs of its owner, to shelter and protect.

NATURE investigates what goes into making a home when you’re wild and cost is not a factor. They may be single-use, multi-generational, or multi-purpose; they may be anything from a small depression in the sand to a many-chambered tunnel, a nest, a burrow, or a mound, but for animals big and small, these dwellings are always impressive home sweet homes. The Animal House premieres November 2, 2011.

Production Credits Print

NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

WRITTEN AND EDITED BY
MARK FLETCHER

PHOTOGRAPHY
GRAHAM HORDER
KEITH BRUST
BARRIE BRITTON
ALASTAIR MacEWEN
SIMON KING
PETER NEARHOS
MARK PAYNE-GILL

MUSIC COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY
BARNABY TAYLOR

ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS
ROGER ARMSTRONG
DAVID PAGETT
ROS STEPHEN

RESEARCHER
SAM WEBER

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS
MIKE HANSELL
ANDREW YOUNG

DUBBING EDITOR
MATT COSTER

DUBBING MIXER
ANDREW WILSON

COLORIST
TIM BOLT

ONLINE EDITOR
JAMES BEYNON

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
ISABELLE CORR

PRODUCTION MANAGER
LINDA DALE

SPECIAL THANKS
PHIL CHAPMAN
PATRICK MORRIS
VERITY WHITE
MILES BARTON
STEPHEN DUNLEAVY
ESTA PORTER
NINA FULLBROOK
STUART READING

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
CHRIS COLE

SERIES PRODUCER
STEVE GREENWOOD

© 2011 BBC
All Rights Reserved

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ONLINE EDITOR
PATRICK KRASS

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A co-production of THIRTEEN and BBC in association with WNET New York Public Media.

This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content

© 2011 THIRTEEN
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

ANATOMY GRAPHICS
KAREN BRAZELL

TERMITE MOUND GRAPHIC
KEVON GREENE