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Darling Dung Beetle

Rollers. Tunnelers. Dwellers. What do they have in common? They all dig dung, and they’re all beetles. Plus, we think there’s something completely mesmerizing and indescribably adorable about watching a dung beetle back a donut hole of poop up a hill. 

Found all over the world, dung beetles live in habitats from savannas to forests, farmland to deserts and on every continent except Antarctica. So why dung? These beetles depend on it for life. Turns out that some of what an animal eats (herbivores such as elephants, cows, etc), is left undigested. These undigested bits are exactly what the dung beetle is after. Dung beetle larvae (their young) eat the solid dung, while adult dung beetles focus on sucking out the liquid. 

And what exactly are rollers, tunnelers, and dwellers? Those terms describe how the beetles use the dung they find. Rollers roll: creating dung balls and rolling them away as either a meal for later or a place to lay their eggs. Tunnelers tunnel: burying their newfound dung prize under a pile of dung. And dwellers dwell: what better place to call home than the inside of a dung pile?

Why so special? Dung beetles perform a vital environmental function as exceptional recyclers, recycling waste and turning it into usable plant food. Wherever there is dung, you’re likely to find dung beetles. We’re big fans of the tiny but mighty –– and some would argue darling –– dung beetle. 

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