Quick Stop: Termite Mounds

La Sagrada Familia
The Natural “La Sagrada Familia”?

Termites rule! Unless they are eating the floor boards out from underneath your home ….

But when they build their own homes, like the spinifex termites of the Northern Territory, they really know how to reach for the sky:

Cathedral Termite Mounds

A termite mound this size may comfortably hold up to a million little architects who can build at a rate of up to 40 cm per year. (At least that’s what an authority on these things told me.)

And, of course, across the way the neighbors do it differently:

Magnetic termite mounds
Magnetic termite mounds

These termite mounds, which oddly remind me of tomb stones, face east to west so only one half of the mound gets sun during any part of the day, leaving the other side in shadow to keep cool.

Lastly, when termites build their mounds at the base of trees, they hollow out the trunks. Who cares, right? Well, these hollow trunks have traditionally been harvested by the Aboriginal people of Australia and turned into the didgeridoo! The didgeridoo is a unique musical instrument you have to hear to fully appreciate.

Photo courtesy of Google
Photo courtesy of Google

(Incidentally, an Australian once showed me how he could play a vacuum cleaner like a didgeridoo; so, with a little practice, you too can enjoy the sounds of the Outback in your own home — sort of.)

Image courtesy Google
Image courtesy Google

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