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.

Dung_beetles,JPG

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!

Egypt_dung_Beetle

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 thoughts on “Is that what I think it is?

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

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  2. 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 dung..my 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!!!!

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  3. 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. 🙂

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  4. Ah …..my 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.

    Jen

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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!

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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….!
    Janice.

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  9. 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
    John
    Australia

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