I came across this on my Friday morning dog walk down the mountain.
It’s a dung beetle, deltochilum gibbosum, the humpback dung beetle, if my identification is correct. I might have noticed the beetle by itself, but what caught my attention from a distance was a moving ball of what appears to be dog poop. It’s possible, in fact probable, that I know the source. The ball was probably slightly more than an inch in diameter.
The beetle had made it about a quarter of the way across Fouche Gap Road. I usually help living things cross the road (turtles, crawfish, snakes), but in this case I felt I just had to let the beetle take its chances. I didn’t see any sign of it when we came back up the mountain, so maybe it was lucky.
I had never seen a dung beetle at work before this, although Walter Reeves, a gardening expert in Georgia, says they are probably in back yards here in Georgia. This link leads to a question that someone submitted to Reeves about using dung beetles to clean up dog droppings in his yard.
I handle that problem by trying to make sure the dogs leave their droppings in the weeds in unpopulated areas along the road. That way they join the rest of the droppings left by the mammal population around here. I think it’s reasonably acceptable in the ecological sense, although I suggest that you watch your step if you walk in the weeds along Fouche Gap Road.
Zeke and Sam are good about not messing up their own territory. Lucy, on the other hand, doesn’t give a …