Smoky Mountain Rangers Warn: “Watch For Rolling Poop”

Unsplash / Chris Altamirano

An unusual warning has come out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this week – and one that you might never have heard before: “Beware the rolling poop.”

Taking to their official Facebook page, the rangers of the Smoky Mountains revealed that hikers and other patrons of the park may encounter rolling poop balls as they explore the wonder of the Smoky Mountains.

But, be cautious not to disturb the poop balls, as they are an integral part of the lifecycle of the habitat there for local animals and critters.

The national park said that their beautiful wilderness area is home to a very specific type of beetle: a dung beetle – also called the “tumblebug.”

These beetles use the stinky excrement of other animals to help lay an egg, then they bury the dung/egg ball in the ground for safekeeping until it hatches.

“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!”

Beyond the beetle’s inclusion in the local ecosystem, the bugs also help keep trails clean of animal poop – so they’re natural caretakers!

“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,” the service captioned a video of a dung beetle.

Check out their full post below, along with a very informative look at the life of a dung beetle. And be careful out there – rolling poop can strike at a moment’s notice!

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