Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep that …

Dung beetles prepare a dung ball prior to rolling it away.Dung beetles roll their dung ball down a steep hill.
I came across these industrious beetles about half way up a steep trail. They’re rolling dung beetles, as opposed to ‘tunnelers’ or ‘dwellers.’ Tunneling dung beetles dig a hole and bury their dung. Dwellers simply live in the dung where they find it. Rolling dung beetles make a ball, roll it away, and then bury it. In each case, the purpose of this activity is for the female to lay her eggs in the dung. When the egg hatches the larva will have its food source ready and waiting. Yum!

I’m glad my mother didn’t opt for this strategy, but dung beetles make such a valuable contribution in recycling this waste that they’re often introduced into areas to help in this process. And that’s not the only laudable quality they possess. According to, dung beetles can also navigate using the Milky Way, the only non-human creatures known to do so.

I have to say, I was a little worried about how these two would get on on this steep hill. They weren’t around when I returned.