Natural History

Top 10 Craziest Animal Lifestyles in North America

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Dung Beetle
Paul Souders/Corbis

3. Dung Beetles

Sometimes a name says it all.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t elaborate.

The dung beetle rolls in, lives in, eats, nests in, breeds in, gives birth in and feeds its young with … dung.

That’s feces, for you less-countrified types out there.

But that doesn’t mean there is no fun in the dung beetle life. Indeed, there is actually sport — it’s called “rolling balls of dung long distances while standing on your head and moving backward using your hind legs to push the dung balls around.”

(Feel free to come up with a shorter name for this pastime, if you care to.)

You might think that their repulsive (to us) behavior would make them unpopular.

But it’s not so.

By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They also protect livestock, such as cattle, by removing the dung which, if left, could provide habitat for pests such as flies.

In fact, many countries have introduced the creatures for the benefit of animal husbandry.

So, it’s true … dung happens.

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