Kruger National Park

Continued – Why The Dung Beetle Should Be Your Spirit Animal

dung-beetle-sign-flickrThey recycle! – Dung Beetles form a vital part of nature’s clean‐up crew by recycling nutrients into the soil. If it wasn’t for them, we would be amongst a lot more flies. This alone is enough to love them.

They have a great sense of direction – African Dung Beetles, Scarabaeus Satyrus, are the first animals know to navigate by the light of the Milky Way. To prove the Milky Way theory, scientists at Johannesburg’s Wits University took beetles into the university planetarium to see how they fared with a normal night sky, and then one devoid of the Milky Way.

“The dung beetles don’t care which direction they’re going in. They just need to get away from the bun fight at the poo pile,” Wits professor Marcus Byrne said. “But when we turned off the Milky Way, the beetles got lost.”

And on cloudy nights without a moon or stars?

“They probably just stay at home,” Byrne said.

They know how to handle weight on their shoulders – Even something like a dung ball that seems small to us is hefty to a determined Dung Beetle. A single ball can weigh 50 times the weight of a Dung Beetle. Male Onthophagus Taurus Beetles can pull 1,141 times their own body weight: this is the same as an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people.


Written by Tersha van Staden