Is that what I think it is?

If you think this is a huge dough left to rise on the forest floor… I’ll let you into a secret.

It isn’t.


If, on the other hand, you’re leaning close to your screen, sloshing that coffee in your hand, and thinking …

“Oh my! Is that – poo?” Then the answer is: Bingo!

In fact, it’s horse dung, lying on a path in the woods. And look – can you see those shiny dung beetles?

I was so excited (I don’t get out much) to see big holes and tunnels in the horse poop, and the dung beetles scuttling around busily. While they go around munching on breakfast, they aerate the tunnels, attract worms to the dung (you can even see one in the  photo peeking its head out of the stuff) and play a very significant part in helping to break down the dung and return it to nature.

You see, I always thought dung beetles lived in Africa and pushed balls of dung up hills, or only appeared as cute supporting characters in Ice Age films. In fact, you can find dung beetles on every continent except Antarctica.

I’ve just discovered that several Swedish dung beetle species are threatened. You know what that means – right? We need more cow pats and horse dung!


Before you poo-poo this post (but not literally, I hope), I’d like to point out that to the Egyptians, several species of dung beetle were sacred and they were often called ‘the sacred scarabs’.

So, next time you step in some poop, give a quick thought to these humble – yet once revered – members of the dung community!

For more appetizing posts, please visit: Pet Pride.

30 responses

  1. Very funny a poop post 🙂


    October 4, 2009 at 08:15

  2. Interesting indeed!
    Happy Pet pride!


    October 4, 2009 at 10:00

  3. HOW do you know these things??! Who would have thought that poo Beetles would be “threatened”! I could export some from here….. 🙂


    October 4, 2009 at 11:46

  4. Mads picked one of those beetles up in the forest and I informed him that it was searching for deer poo so he should leave it be!


    October 4, 2009 at 12:07

  5. Lost for words 🙂


    October 4, 2009 at 12:28

  6. Po

    Mmmm, I do find dung beetles quite entertaining, but not so sure about the poo.


    October 4, 2009 at 13:04

  7. Amy

    Um….funny you should write a post about poop, we just got in from a walk in the woods where we ran into a neat GIANT pile of horse thought wasn’t to delight in the holes and dung beetles (didn’t really see any) but I was thinking how everytime we walk the dogs and they poo we have to pick it up out of respect for other hikers but horses can leave a giant pile in the middle of the path and keep on going…IRRITATING!!!!


    October 4, 2009 at 13:52

  8. I always thought dung beetles lived in Africa also! Interesting. And I didn’t think for a moments that the pile in the picture was anything other than poo. Dough? Doesn’t look like any dough I’ve ever made. 🙂


    October 4, 2009 at 14:02

  9. Yikes, beetles ! They are so disgusting ! we have quite some big once here in Belgium too, a reason for me to run away !


    October 4, 2009 at 14:55

  10. Wonderfully entertaining post for Camera Critters. Love it! Thanks for dropping by mine and watch where you step 😉
    Hugs and blessings,


    October 4, 2009 at 15:26

  11. Jen

    Ah … Sunday morning reading got really interesting. Now don’t think that I am poo pooing your post. Oh I love to say that, I feel very naughty. LOL.

    It was interesting, getting the dirt on dung beetles. Thanks.



    October 4, 2009 at 15:32

  12. I think my steppingin poop will still have a lot of cussing.


    October 4, 2009 at 16:23

  13. Now this is how I like to start my day! A serious look at poop! I love it! Go dung beetles! And I promise to watch where me and Sam and Mojo step!

    What fun!



    October 4, 2009 at 17:49

  14. Ha! Interesting post. My son (at 4) collected a whole jarfull of dung beetles and hid them in his closet. Then we went on vacation. A week later, he opened the jar… and it too hours to air out the house. He was much disappointed that none of them survived, but there were more to collect.


    October 4, 2009 at 20:01

  15. Well I certainly learnt something today.

    And doesn”t scarab sound much nicer than ‘dung beetle’:-)


    October 4, 2009 at 20:02

  16. Yahoo poo..go beetles! Very interesting post..I wonder if Minnesota has them, if you have them there..we probably do too! 🙂


    October 4, 2009 at 20:10

  17. “…poo-poo this post…” Ha! That first picture cracked me up.
    Have a great week.


    October 4, 2009 at 23:07

  18. poop happens has a whole new meaning to me now


    October 5, 2009 at 01:41

  19. grrrrl you are gonna have to get out more often! LOL…

    and everybody should know that dung beetles keep the planet alive one poop roll at a time! ha!


    October 5, 2009 at 01:47

  20. Now that is just nasty!

    But I did learn something new. I didn’t know there were dung beetles in Sweden.


    October 5, 2009 at 02:44

  21. SirPe

    Interesting post, if a bit smelly. But seriously, I thought it was simply excrement! 😉


    October 5, 2009 at 13:22

  22. Erm, I don’t really know what to say to that!!

    I’m glad you got to see your first dung beetle!!

    C x


    October 5, 2009 at 14:16

  23. Interesting post on what could have been a nonmoment during a walk in the woods! Good to know about this stuff.


    October 5, 2009 at 18:09

  24. Heaps of dung are always something you can´t miss out there. I never get excited about them but it´s good that you do!


    October 6, 2009 at 05:00

  25. I’ve tried twice to comment on this, waiting for the photos of poop to load, but neither time did I get the pictures. Perhaps my computer refused to expose me to poop and beetles, that’s all I can say.


    October 6, 2009 at 05:06

  26. okay, that is enough poopie info for one day. xo


    October 6, 2009 at 17:16

  27. Well, the dung beetles are pretty.


    October 6, 2009 at 18:58

  28. I would never have imagined a pile of horse pooh could have got someone so excited – but I love your pooh-post! Not sure what I personally can do to help the situation….!


    October 7, 2009 at 16:06

  29. A poo post! LOL Only you! ehehehe Ahh all the great posts i’ve been missing out on the last few months. Shame on me!


    October 8, 2009 at 12:43

  30. John A

    ladyfi, you mentioned “threatened” staus of dung beetles.
    I’ve looked up the IUCN Redlist etc. But nothing obvious about formal endangered or threatened status. Hoewever, I constantly see these references in scientific journals re (some) dung beetle species- Finand, Americas, South Africa etc.

    ladyfi, can you please direct me to some references you have in your country to threatened staus of dung beetles. Maybe a scientist or two, their journals pieces, press releases etc

    Thank you


    March 30, 2010 at 16:22

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