Dung Beetle Facts for Kids

A Picture of Two Dung Beetles
  • Common Name: Dung Beetle
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Infraorder: Scarabaeiformia
  • Superfamily: Scarabaeoidea

19 Dung Beetle Facts for Kids

  1. A dung beetle is an insect that feeds on feces (poop) and is a member of the Scarabaeoidea superfamily.
  2. Almost all species of dung beetles belong to one of the Aphodiinae, Scarabaeidae or Scarabaeinae subfamilies.
  3. Dung beetle species that belong to the Scarabaeinae subfamily only eat dung and are considered true dung beetles.
  4. Entomologists estimate there are about 8,000 species of dung beetles worldwide.
  5. Dung beetles live on every continent except for Antarctica.
  6. Dung beetle species can be found in many different types of habitats. Some dung beetles live in dry, hot deserts, while others can be found in thick humid forests.
  7. Dung beetles are one of the few species of insects that actual care for their young.
  8. The average dung beetle species can roll a ball of dung 50 times its own weight.
  9. There are three different types of dung beetles based on how they use the dung they find.
  10. The three different types of dung beetles are dwellers, rollers and tunnellers.
  11. Dung beetles that are considered dwellers are species that live inside the pile of poop that they find.
  12. Dung beetles that are considered rollers are species that will shape the poop that they find into a ball and roll it away.
  13. Dung beetles that are considered tunnellers are species that will tunnel underneath the poop and bring it in the tunnel.
  14. The taurus scarab (Onthophagus taurus), a species of dung beetle, can pull over 1,100 times its own body weight.
  15. The sacred scarab (Scarabaeus sacer), a species of dung beetle, was considered sacred among ancient Egyptians.
  16. The dung beetle species Scarabaeus satyrus uses the luminous glow of the Milky Way to navigate at night.
  17. The African dung beetle (Scarabaeus zambesianus) can navigate using moonlight by using polarization patterns.
  18. The brown dung beetle (Onthophagus gazella) is one of many species of dung beetles that have been introduced to different parts of the world to help with the removal of cattle dung.
  19. Dung beetles are used in Chinese herbal medicine to cure 10 different diseases.

Additional Resources with Dung Beetle Facts