Little creatures, BIG job.

24 August 2019, Saturday

Summer is upon us and sightings have been spectacular! Although we enjoy the “big game”, the small creeping and crawling animals can sometimes be of more importance than we realise.

Dung Beetles act as the biggest decomposers in the summer time (height of their life cycle) where an individual can burry up to 100 times their own weight of dung in a single night! They rely on their sensitive sense of smell to locate fresh animal dung and use these dung balls as part of the mating ritual.

With most of the Dung beetle species the male will roll the dung into a ball and female will either hitchhike or follow him around. They then find a soft spot in the soil and burry the ball after the female lays between 1 and 20 eggs inside of it.

Dung beetles go through a complete metamorphosis cycle and the larvae of most species will feed on the dung for a couple of days before moving on to another food source. These beetles can also feed on mushrooms, decaying flowers and fruit.

They play a very important role when it comes to recycling of nutrients and soil structure, and are currently known to be the only non-human animal to navigate and orientate themselves using the stars.

I enjoy sharing these special “smaller” sightings with my guests.

Jason Swart

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