Dung beetles do just what their name suggests: they use the manure, or dung, of other animals in some unique ways! These interesting insects fly around in search of manure deposits, or pats, from herbivores like cows and elephants.
Dung beetles come in a variety of colors, from dull and glossy black to metallic green and red. Ancient Egyptians thought very highly of the dung beetle, also known as the scarab. They believed the dung beetle kept the Earth revolving like a giant ball of dung.
The wily dung beetle is exhibited in the Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey, an area that showcases modern animals with their Pleistocene-era counterparts found in southern California 10,000 years ago. Dung beetles were just as important to the landscape during the Pleistocene as they are today. They tidied up after a variety of colossal herbivores like ground sloths and wooly mammoths.
Watch them at work!