Dung Beetle Facts

I want to share some facts about the dung beetle, being a dung beetle and all, I thought I could offer great insight into what it actually means to being a dung beetle.

Fact #1: There are three types of dung beetle: roller, tunneller and dweller

Me and a lucky find

I’m a roller dung beetle and shape a chunk of fresh dung into a ball, using my legs and head. I then roll it far away to my nesting area, and patiently await the birth of my young.  Some of my rollers friends are capable of lifting 50 times their own weight.

Watch the National Geographic’s video on the roller dung beetle in action.

And then for a bit of fun, watch the Dung Beetle Battle animation.

My cousin, Tom Tunneller

My cousin Tom is a tunneller dung beetle.  He prefers to dive deep into dung, digging a tunnel not only through the dung, but then further into the earth.

Not only is the dung then stored in his cosy tunnel, ready for his baby dung beetle eggs to hatch, but this also helps fertilise and aerate the earth and ‘cleans’ the ground of dung.

doug dung beetle's cousin dweller beetle
My other cousin the Dweller

My other cousin is a dweller.  They prefer to dig a hole in dung and then lay their eggs inside. This not only protects the eggs from predators, but also the weather. What animal would go hunting for dinner inside dung?

Fact#2: Size doesn’t matter

We can be as small as 1mm and as large as 6cm. That’s about the size of a tennis ball! However, we all have a role to play in cleaning the world of dung, one mouthful at a time.

Fact #3: I’ve been everywhere man….well, I mean we as a species are everywhere

Well, almost.  We live on every continent, except Antarctica, but this was not always the case.  In the 1900s Australia introduced us to their country, to rid their land of a growing pile of manure, created by grazing cattle.

Fact #4: We can live to 80 years of age

That’s dung beetle years.  In human years, that translates to 3 to 5 years.

Fact #5: There are over 7,000 species of dung beetles world wide

That’s a lot of different types of dung beetle for a lot of different types of dung!

Fact #6: We only eat dung

Dung is the only thing us dung beetles will eat.  We are so efficient at processing this food that we get all the nutrients and water we need by just eating dung.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t like variety, I mean, there’s so much dung choice available. There’s cow dung, elephant dung, monkey dung, doggy dung…..the list goes on and on.


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