David Armstrong
Dung beetle at DeGray Lake Resort State Park

In the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, resting on the shores of a pristine 13,800-acre lake lies DeGray Lake Resort State Park. As Arkansas’s resort state park, DeGray offers a wide range of amenities and experiences to choose from. In addition to being your outdoor recreation hub, the park serves as a haven for a variety of native flora and fauna. Lake and forest habitats meet to create a unique community of wildlife in this special place.  

Along the park’s trails and throughout the forest floors, the humble humpback dung beetle (Deltochilum gibbosum) faithfully carries out its repetitive, rather repugnant, responsibilities without reservation. Few species in the park’s elaborate food chain can rival the curious, hard-working star of this short video and the unique “role” it plays.  

This creature carefully crafts a smooth orb-o-poo out of animal waste, before rolling it off to a special hiding place for safekeeping. In the process, the beetle carries out the vital task of cleaning up nature’s floor and preventing otherwise damage to surrounding plants and animals. The ball of waste, in turn, provides for most of the beetle’s basic needs, including food and nesting material for depositing and guarding a single offspring egg. Fascinating! 

I cannot help but marvel at this beetle’s role in the natural world. Additionally, it gives me pause to consider the work ethic on display in this humble arthropod. This creature rolls poo for a living, literally. I challenge us all to find inspiration in nature here: Make the choice to work hard at your job, whatever it may be. As someone once put it so aptly, “When life throws you poo, just roll with it!” 

If you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures, check out this great article by Richard Jones from the Smithsonian Magazine. To find out more about the park’s forested trails, on which you could watch for one of these amazing dung beetles in action, visit our trails page and plan your next park visit! 

Overnight accommodations range from a 96-room island lodge to 113 campsites ranging from walk-in to Class AAA, to three Rent-A-Yurts. Guests can find their escape by hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, golfing, horseback riding, and more. 

[VIDEO DESCRIPTION]: In this unnarrated video, a humpback dung beetle is seen rolling its ball of animal waste with its (presumed) mate clinging to it. Birds are heard singing in the background.