Diligent dung beetles

Jonathan Scott and Alan Root walk amongst zebra and wildebeest on the Serengeti. The parks people have allowed Alan access for a day to relive what it was like for him when he first came here forty years ago. So far he and Jonathan have been lucky. They've seen predators and scavengers - all the elements of the bigger cycle that replenishes the local environment. But the major clean up act is done by all the tiny things that deal with huge quantities of dung every day. The most visible ones are the dung beetles that make a ball of dung and roll it away. The female clings on top and goes along for the ride while the male rolls it off across country and buries it underground. Then the female lays her egg in the ball which provides food for their young. If the male finds that he can’t move the ball for some reason, he’ll climb on top of it to see what the problem is. The male then pushes away the impediment and goes back to rolling. The dung beetle was one of the gods of ancient Egypt and was responsible for rolling the sun around the sky.

Release date:


2 minutes

This clip is from

Featured in...