A Dungtastic Day

After a few days of lousy weather Fizz and I woke up this morning to blue skies. We quickly decided it was a good day to visit the woods and it was.

We were heading into the forest but we wanted to just rush past the first plantation and get to the native woodland today. So heads down off we went until we saw a Beech tree, then we took our blinkers off and slowed the pace.

Beech TreeI had intended to go much deeper into the wood but just at this point a beautiful Fallow stag stepped out onto the path in front of us.

There was no chance of a photograph it happened very quickly but he was close and we had a good look at him. He took off along a track that led into the forest so we followed him, slowly and quietly.

Woodland Path

Woodland PathUnfortunately we never saw him again and this is not going to be a post about a majestic stag it is very quickly going to turn into a post about a dung beetle.

Woodland PathWe Β hadn’t gone very far along this path when I noticed a little beetle and stopped to photograph him.

Dor BeetleThis is a Dor Beetle,Β Geotrupes stercorarius. It is a dung beetle and it is a Scarab.

Being a Scarab means that it has worshippers which makes it slightly more important than a WordPress Blogger because they only have followers.

I am fond of this beetle I used to see lots of them in my wood where they would collect Rabbit pellets. It is supposed to favour cow pats but I didn’t used to have any cows.

Just a few steps down the path I found another one.

Dor Beetle

7

Dor BeetleGood aren’t they? A pretty little beetle with a penchant for pooh.

FizzI started to realise they were everywhere on this track, dozens of them.

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor BeetleSome had even been trodden on, someone had walked this path before me. There were so many of them and I have never seen anything like this. I am guessing that the sudden nice weather had something to do with it.

Blue Skies

Bored FizzYou would say if I was boring you, wouldn’t you?

Bored FizzLet’s get off this path so that we don’t tread on any beetles. Lets play a game. I will show you photographs of a tree and you see how many pictures it takes before you recognise it.

Fizz“Beech”

I haven’t started yet. Okay , bark first.

Beech Tree

Beech Tree

19Fruit.

Beech Tree

Beech Tree

Beech TreeBud and leaf.

Beech Tree

Beech Tree

Beech TreeHave you got it yet? Well don’t worry you are only a Dog. It is a Beech tree. Isn’t it beautiful?

“I eat chicken and play ball. Have you got it yet?”

Fizz100% Right on. I am with you there. Eat chicken, play ball and explore nature, yeah? Come on, we might find some more beetles.

Wow! We got out on the track and there were beetles everywhere.

Dor Bettle

Beech TreeDon’t eat them, Stupid! You don’t know where they have been.

Beech Tree

Dor BeetleIt was around about now that we found out exactly where they had been. There are no Cows but we do get quite a lot of Horse traffic in the Forest. Fizz regretted scoffing so many.

They eat their own weight in dung every day and help to clean up after us. It sounds impressive but they don’t weigh very much.

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor Beetle

Dor BeetleThat was a wonderful thing. Photographs of a stag would have been okay but to witness Beetlemania first hand, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to see what happened today happen again.

So we walked out of the forest. There is a joke that Fizz and I like to do. It is an old joke but it’s a good one. There is this place where we rest on the way back. she climbs on the stacks and I take the pictures.

Timber Stacks

Timber Stacks

Timber StacksWe are rebels and there is just no controlling us.

This is the weird thing, as soon as we entered the plantation, no beetles. Turn around and walk twenty steps, hundreds of beetles, a plague of beetles. Back into the plantation, nothing, no life.

These beetles eat dung. The larvae feed on dung and the adults feed on dung.

I am not having a dig at plantations here, I just can’t understand why the type of tree makes a difference.

Playing ball and Eating ChichenI know, you like playing ball and eating chicken, I like bugs. It is like we were made for each other.

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39 thoughts on “A Dungtastic Day”

  1. So Fizz can’t read signs that say stay off…..good, a little rebellion is a good thing. Very interesting read about those beetles. You always find wonderful things in the woods. And we always enjoy reading about them.

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  2. Thanks for reminding me that the dung beetle is also known as the scarab. I had put that too far back in my memory bank. Were they not favored by the Egyptians?
    Another fine tramp and Fizz seemed to enjoy it, also.

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    1. Thank you Ettel πŸ™‚ Yes it was the Egyptians who worshipped the Scarab. Imagine a civilisation so advanced that they understood the importance of an insignificant little beetle. We still have a long way to go.

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  3. This was a charming post. Keep on climbing and clambering where you shouldn’t, both of you.

    I’m wondering if the beetles feed in the beech forest as young grubs and can’t survive in the soil of the plantation.

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    1. Thanks Emily πŸ™‚ The adult beetle lays her eggs in tunnels that she digs and fills with dung. The Larvae eat dung and when they emerge as adults they eat dung. I am not aware of them needing anything else in their lives other than a good supply of dung. I think that I have got it, This forest is nearly all Beech and Oak, so there are a lot of acorns and mast. The animals that eat these things produce a lot of dung and the same food isn’t available in the plantation πŸ™‚

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  4. Used to like these when I stumbled across them on Dartmoor. By the way can you keep your eyes open for Dragonflies, I’m curious to see how long they keep flying. I saw a female Common Darter in Cranleigh today.

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    1. Thanks Stephen πŸ™‚ I saw a Migrant Hawker just a couple of days ago but overall this has been a terrible year for me as far as dragonflies go. The farm has good ponds and there should have been lots but I have seen very few.

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  5. Re your comment “Being a Scarab means that it has worshippers which makes it slightly more important than a WordPress Blogger because they only have followers.” I have read some of the comments made on your blog and I think some might put you up there with the Scarab.
    I’ll try and find a few later as it gets warmer.

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    1. πŸ˜€ Ha Ha! Thanks John but over the years I have lost much of my ambition. I no longer aspire to be a dung beetle, I am content to be just what I am.When I was young I might have been a dung beetle or I could have aimed a bit lower, maybe politics? That might have been a more realistic ambition. Now you have got me wondering, how much lower than a dung beetle is a politician? Could I have made it? Probably not. πŸ™‚ Oh well.

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  6. I occasionally run a moth trap and they can attract chafers. Bright green shiny ones that hurt when they hit you. They lie on their backs, waving their legs in the air like intoxicated students. Fizz would love it. I prefer not to enquire what they are earlier but I suspect horse poop would be good in comparison.

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  7. I loved this post! I have never seen a Dor beetle and have learnt such a lot. Without these beetles and all the other insects that get rid of poo and dead animals we would never have survived this long. All power to the poo and rotting flesh eaters!

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    1. Thanks Clare πŸ™‚ In my next post I am going to forget to comment on the beetles. We walked the same path, the beetles were still about but not nearly so many. What was notable was that those big piles of dung were just a stain on the track. They had completely gone. I should have photographed the stains for my next Dor Beetle post.

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    1. Hi and thanks Boeta. What they are supposed to do is dig tunnels underneath their chosen pile of dung and drag the dung into them for the larvae to feed. There are three types of dung beetle, rollers, tunnellers and dwellers (who live in it) and these are tunnellers. However In my old wood they collected rabbit pellets and I have filmed them rolling those. I suppose that there is not much point in digging a tunnel underneath a rabbit pellet.

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