Dung beetles. [iStockpoto]

There are three main types of dung beetle – rollers, tunnellers and dwellers.

Rollers shape dung into balls and roll them away from the pile. Tunnellers dive into the dung pile, while dwellers, on the other hand, simply live inside the pooey pile.

Dung beetles eat the poop of herbivores. This is largely because it consists of undigested plant matter, rather than carnivore waste, which holds very little nutritional value for insects.

Not all dung beetles roll their poop. Some dung beetles do not. Instead, they stay close to their faecal finds.

Dung beetles prefer fresh dung which they find using their sensitive sense of smell. Fresh dung is easier to roll. They smell the freshness by flying backwards and forwards across the moving air.

On average, dung beetles can roll a ball of dung 50 times their weight. The bull-headed dung beetle can haul more than 1,100 times its body weight.

If it were not for beetles, dung would harden and cover the ground. Grass and other plants would find it very difficult to grow.

During the hotter periods of the day, it has been observed that beetles will climb on top of their dung balls to give their feet a break from the hot ground.

Dung beetles have dark, round bodies, six legs and long flying wings folded under hard, protective covers. Some male dung beetles have strong horns on their heads, too.

There are 2,000 species of dung beetles in Africa.