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6 animals that recycle in their everyday lives

March 6, 2013, 3:07 p.m.
recycling dung beetle

Photo: Ben Haeringer/Flickr

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Dung beetles

It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Yes, even poop is too valuable a resource to let go to waste, and perhaps no animal understands this better than the dung beetle. This insect lives to collect and repurpose your poop. Not only do dung beetles build their homes out of feces, but they also eat it and lay their eggs in it.

Many dung beetles are actually referred to as "rollers," since their waste-collection strategy is to roll excrement into balls so that it can be easily wheeled away.

The environmental value of dung beetles shouldn't be understated. For instance, it's estimated that dung beetles save the United States cattle industry $380 million annually by repurposing livestock feces alone. The amazing recycling ability of dung beetles has even been proposed as a way to help curb global warming.