Chapter VI Part II
There are many ways to
build a home!
Woodland mammals live in all kinds of homes! Many burrow in the soil, building underground rooms protected from predators and extreme temperatures, with tunnels, escape routes and secret entrances. Many animals bring in soft materials for bedding, have special hidden food stashes, refuse piles, and some even have multiple rooms!
Entire families live in some burrows, such as in beaver lodges. Other burrows are dug just for pregnant mothers to safely give birth and nurse their young inside of - such as with coyotes.
Many black bears in the southeast build winter dens in the hollows of trees or fallen logs, rock outcrops, cavities in the ground, or bramble thickets. They often bring in sticks, leaves, and grass and assemble them into beds that look like bird nests. They also make day beds piled high with leaves outside of burrows on protected, sunny hillsides to rest and bask in the afternoon sun.
Instead of burrowing into the ground for protection, gray squirrels build treehouses - nests high in the treetops that are called dreys. Sticks are used to form the structure of the nest and leaves are filled in between to plug the holes. The inside of the nest is hollow and lined with soft bedding, such as moss, grass, hair, and other kids of shredded, fluffy material scavenged from their human neighbors.
If you didn’t have a house to live in, what kind of a home would you build from wild materials? Why don’t you give it a try and construct a shelter for a stuffed animal, toy, or friendly household sponge? See if you can make it watertight and when you are finished, pour water over it as it if was in a rain storm. Did your little friend stay dry inside of there?
Send us a photo of your shelter with your friend inside and a video of the water being poured over!