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(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Well here’s a crappy story…

Hikers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are being warned to watch out for flying turds! No joke!  The National Park Service took to their Facebook page and posted that the rolling balls of “crap” are being propelled by a type of dung beetle called tumble bugs. They go on to explain that dung beetles rely on animal excrement to reproduce. Female beetles will lay a fertilized egg inside each poo-ball, and males will bury them “for safekeeping.”When the eggs hatch, the larvae will grow there until they can survive on their own. North Carolina State University researchers said their crappy hatchery can also provide a meal to a hungry dung beetle.

When life gives you crap...

It’s like they always say: “When life gives you crap……….roll it into a ball, lay an egg inside it, bury it, and use it to nourish your offspring!”At least, that’s what dung beetles and tumblebugs do. This tumblebug (Canthon sp.) is one of the many beetles found in the Smokies that relies on animal scat to complete its life cycle. The female tumblebug will lay only one egg inside each ball of dung, allowing the developing larvae to have all the resources they need without having to compete with their siblings. The male will help bury the balls of dung in the ground for safe keeping. Dung beetles and tumblebugs do us a great service by keeping the trails clean and aiding in decomposition!Video by: Nelson Goodman; Video description: A dung beetle rolls a ball of dung across a trail.

Posted by Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday, August 23, 2019