The Fascinating Life of the Dung Beetle

You would be forgiven for thinking, why on earth am I dedicating my first blog to the most famous pooper-scooper – the dung beetle?  Well, I will come to that in a while but first an introduction:

Greetings – my name is Finley and I am delighted to be the Head Boy at Bickley for this exciting, centenary year.  What a fantastic time to be part of the school!

During the holidays, there was that inevitable moment that happens when your mother realises that the balance between gaming and doing something ‘worthwhile’ has gone out of kilter!  i.e. “Finley, put that iPad down right now and read a book’.  Sigh! I resisted for as long as possible, waiting for her tone to change from relatively friendly to downright hostile.  She eventually relented by declaring that I should at least be listening to a podcast or doing something that would stop my brain turning to mush! And hence… the discovery of the BBC natural history podcasts. * Most of them are less than 30 minutes long and I really enjoyed learning about the strange little creatures that are dung beetles.  I feel they reflect an important life lesson:  do not dismiss those that are small because they can achieve great things.  The same is true for all Bickley boys!

Dung beetles are vital for the ecosystem as they recycle organic material in nature and are the unsung heroes of our environment. * So how might this relate to us?  Well, Bickley is a smart school and each of us can play our part by keeping it clean by looking after our belongings (I’m speaking to myself here too!) and picking up litter.  If you are in Year 7, I highly recommend joining the litter-picking club – it’s a community minded activity that is fun to do with friends.

The dung beetle is not only the world’s strongest insect, but also the world’s strongest animal (they can pull more than 1000x their own bodyweight.  According to National Geographic kids *, this is equivalent to a human dragging six full double-decker busses along a road!) So, as its rugby season, the next time you’re on the field, consider the dung beetle and get stuck into that scrum!

And finally… the dung beetle may be lowly, living a life that revolves around collecting animal waste but did you know they are the only animals, other than humans, to navigate using the stars? Aiming high and working hard are key ideas that are promoted at Bickley.  The dung beetle is a great role model in that regard.

So, no matter who puts you down, just remember the dung beetle and keep rolling towards your goals!  I wish you all a successful and happy Autumn term.

* As my Mum is a teacher… SIGH… I am compelled to acknowledge my sources so if anyone is interested, you can read or hear more by using the links below: or type in BBC Radio 4 Natural Histories