This funny critter has an intriguing way of life. He is a Dung Beetle. I believe his species is Canthon imitator. He hunts for piles of manure using his sensitive sense of smell. I doubt if this sign (below) would be of any use to the Dung Beetle. They probably can’t even read. I suppose the sign is for humans, not Dung Beetles, but that’s what he is looking/sniffing for, manure, poop, dung, feces of herbivores or omnivores, though they prefer omnivores as their source.
The Dung Beetle will roll dung balls up to 10 times their weight. They move quickly – a male and a female – so that their treasured manure does not get stolen by other Dung Beetles. Usually it is the male the does the rolling, occasionally with the female riding atop the ball. The Dung Beetle rolls the ball in a straight line despite things that might get in their way, until the male and female find a spot of soft soil for burying the ball of manure. After mating the female will lay eggs with the manure ball providing provisions for the larvae.
The Dung Beetle is a good critter to have around. They improve soil, by burying and consuming manure. By removing the manure there is less habitat for pests such as flies too. As I was doing research for this blog, I actually came upon a site where Australian farmers can actually order Dung Beetles!
This type of Dung Beetle is called a roller because of the manner in which they remove their treasured find to a location away from other hijacking Dung Beetles, rolling the ball along. Several species of the Dung Beetle were highly regarded in ancient Egypt. You’ll recognize these beetles as the Sacred Scarab.
In Isan, Northeastern Thailand, the local people eat many different kinds of insects, including the Dung Beetle. Ugh! I think I will just continue watching, being amused and intrigued by the rolling of the ball of dung, and while they take food home for the babies!