Here, in Quebec, every year since 1971, more than 120,000 workers leave their construction sites to enjoy a restful 2-week break known as “The Construction Holidays.”
This well-deserved vacation has given us our own time to pause and pay tribute to the work of not only our builders, but also the discreet builders of the animal world. What if we held an Olympian event for fauna builders? Who do you think would take all the honours? Here is our own Zoo de Granby ranking for the best positions.
The Bronze Medal goes to: The Beaver
A stubborn and tireless worker, the beaver builds dams in order to maintain the entrance of its underwater lodge and to have an easier access to trees, its raw material!
The dam is made with specially selected, ingeniously intertwined wood sections, set against the water current and cemented with mud, rocks and vegetation. The widest beaver dam in the world was discovered in 2010 by a biologist (thanks to Google Earth!) in Wood Buffalo Park in Alberta. It measures 850 metres (2,800 feet) and was built over the span of several generations of beavers since the ’70s.
The Silver Medal goes to: The Termite
Like a solid geyser, the exterior part of a termite mound, or its chimney, is spectacular and can reach up to several metres in height. Quite impressive as we learn that the whole thing is made with clay mixed with the saliva of a 5 to 8-millimetre insects! These structures permit heat to escape from the underground nest, thus allowing its minuscule inhabitants to survive in these otherwise hostile regions: We can therefore credit termites for being the inventors of air conditioning!
The Gold Medal goes to: Polyps
The gold medal goes without a doubt to polyps who, relentlessly and with great patience build structures that can be seen from space! With sac-like bodies, these minuscule animals group together and build a hard and calcareous skeleton known as coral. Thousands, even millions of polyps methodically build their structures, piling on those of past generations, forming reefs measuring hundreds of metres in length. These reefs harbour 25% of all aquatic life and protect shorelines from powerful breaking waves. The polyp, on many levels, is a true champion of nature!