by Inigo del Castillo in Cool Travel on Wednesday 15 January 2014

Humans and Sims aren’t the only ones who can change the environment around them. Animals can, too. In Kenya, elephants have helped shape the walls of a cave called Kitum Cave. The pitch black cave is covered in salt, making it a delectable snack for hungry elephants. For thousands of years, these giant beasts have entered the cave and picked at the walls with their tusks, effectively changing the landscape.

But don’t you dare try doing the same thing, because if you lick the cave walls, you’d probably catch the deadly Marburg virus, an Ebola-like virus. You can thank the bats for that, as they have been suspected of spreading the virus in their dark lair.

Gophers, while not as huge as elephants (obviously), have also impacted their surroundings through 500 to 700 years of hard work. The Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve in Washington State contain thousands of mounds, 8 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Scientists believe that gophers push the ground upwards during the rainy season to keep themselves from drowning. This in turn, through years of repeated pushing, have caused the giant pimple-like structures.

Of course, the beavers aren’t going to get beat just that easily. In Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada, exists the largest beaver dam in the world. How big is big? Twice the size of Hoover Dam. ‘Take that, humans!’ said the beavers.

America, on the other hand, can thank animals for their legacy of building roads for them. Buffalo and elk routes in the early days became hunting trails, which eventually became routes going west, then expanded to become wagon roads. Now, these wagon roads have become the modern U.S. interstate system. Sadly, these animals become roadkill on the same roads they once pioneered.

Via Gizmodo