No Road Kill Here

There is so many things to learn when you travel, it can be life -changing or it simply can just be an eye-opening event or information.  Sometimes it’s in a large way, but other times, it is in a very small way.  If we pay attention to both the big and the small!  we might realize how much we take for granted if we were somewhere else.  Some of you may be squeamish, when you begin to realize how important a little beetle is in the entire scheme of the environment in many parts of Africa, you may look at a beetle differently.

Dung Beetles have the right of wayIn Africa, dung beetles have the right of way.  What other country or continent could you travel to where a beetle has ‘rights’.  This one does.  There are huge fines if you are caught running over a dung beetle. If you think people don’t know or aren’t seeing, you’d be wrong.  There are eyes out there, and you may not even see them. It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is 10 times or 100 times the size of a dung beetle.  THEY have the right of way!  In fact, in South Africa as you’re heading for  many of the game reserves, and especially Timbavati Game Reserve, there are huge road signs along the tarmac road, and on the dirt roads that reinforce their right of way ~ ‘DUNG BEETLES HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! ~ Everyone knows it!  Now you do.  YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

WHAT IS DUNG?

Dung Beetles have the right of wayDung is a scientific name for ‘poop’.  Dung beetles feed exclusively on dung and some feed partially on dung.  Beetles rely on dung to feed their babies and to make their nests.  In Africa, it is most often elephant or cow dung. Although dung beetles do use dung from many animals, they do seem to concentrate on the dung of the larger mammals. Fresh dung will have an immediate attraction to the dung beetle.

MATING, ROLLING AND THEN HATCHLINGS

Dung Beetles have the right of wayDung Beetles can be seen throughout the plains, mating  or on the Savannah rolling dung ten times as big as they are. Sometimes you see both the male and female, who have mated and laid their eggs in the dung.  They roll the dung ball until they find a suitable place to bury the dung, so the babies can hatch. This photo shows all the hatchlings from the beetle larvae, called grubs.  When it
is big enough, still inside its dung ball, the grub will change into a pupa (resting stage). Inside its cocoon, the pupa is changing into an adult Dung Beetle.

 

SERVINDung Beetles have the right of wayG A PURPOSE

For those few who are intrigued by these little creatures, and others, who don’t particularly have an affinity for bugs,  it’s important to note that Dung Beetles do play a very pivotal role in nature. By eating food that many animals won’t or don’t want to eat, they put important nutrients back into the soil that can be used by plants and other animals. There is a purpose for everything in Africa!

PREDATORS

Dung Beetles have the right of wayDung Beetles, however, are not without danger themselves.  A dung beetle does have many enemies that prey on them in every corner of the savannah.  They include most birds, bats, reptiles and any of the animals which eat insects, and there are many. 

See it for yourself on your adventure, when you join one of Destined To Travel’s many safaris.  It will be difficult for you to miss one of these beetles, as the drivers swerve and sway to miss them along the road.  There is a well priced safari for anyone wanting to experience this adventure, and in any season they would like.  Please visit destined-to-travel.com for more information and an up close and personal with the dung beetle.

 

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