Egyptian Beetle: 10 Facts About Scarabs That Will Surprise You

Keep reading to watch this amazing video

Earth boring dung beetle isolated on white background
The Egyptian beetle, or Scarabaeus sacer, is a dung beetle that lives in a variety of environments, from deserts to rainforests on all continents except Antarctica.

©Vitalii Hulai/Shutterstock.com

The Egyptian beetle, or Scarabaeus sacer, is a dung beetle that lives in a variety of environments, from deserts to rainforests on all continents except Antarctica. Dung beetles feed on dung to survive and raise their young. Dung beetles evolved 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs died out and mammals got bigger. There are about 8,000 species of dung beetles in the world, mainly distributed in tropical regions, and feed on the excrement of terrestrial vertebrates.

To the Egyptians, this dung beetle was also known as the scarab or scarab. Have you ever wondered how the Egyptians worshiped this dung beetle? Read on to find out ten facts about the Egyptian scarab that might surprise you!

10. The Egyptian Beetle God

Khepri was considered an "insect" god and is depicted in ancient paintings with a dung beetle as the head.

©iStock.com/Zadvinskii

The scarab, a symbol of the sun god Ra, was one of the most popular amulets in ancient Egypt. Khepri was an Egyptian god who in ancient Egyptian mythology represented the rising or rising sun. Khepri and another sun god called Atum are often seen as aspects or manifestations of Ra, and often represent the Egyptian beetle.

Khepri was considered an "insect" god and is depicted in ancient paintings with a dung beetle as the head. The Egyptians connected the movement of the sun to a ball of dung propelled by the scarab, whose head had antennae resembling a sun disc flanked by horns worn by many gods.

9. The symbolism of the scarab

The Egyptian beetle is a good luck beetle and is known to symbolize good luck, hope, restoration of life and regeneration. It was also a symbol of immortality, resurrection, transformation and protection in ancient Egyptian religion.

Read more  Beagles

The dung ball of the sacred insect was the basis of the Egyptian view of the cycle of life. The feces of the females are a metaphor for rebirth because of the way they eat the feces, lay eggs in it, and feed their offspring with it. Over the years, this particular bug has been carved or shaped into valuable accessories and talismans.

8. These beetles have a role

Dung beetle (Scarabaeidae) - rolls droppings on hind legs
To eat or reproduce, dung beetles called rollers shape their droppings into balls.

© Stacey Ann Alberts/Shutterstock.com

Egyptian dung beetles eat dung and have a pattern of doing so. To eat or reproduce, dung beetles called rollers shape their droppings into balls. The dung balls were buried wherever the tunnelers picked them up. Residents don't roll over or burrow; they just live in poop. This is common for larvae as they begin to develop.

7. The Egyptian beetle is super strong

dung beetle close-up
Egyptian beetles can roll up to ten times their own weight.

©Michael Potter11/Shutterstock.com

Egyptian beetles can roll up to ten times their own weight. Some species of dung beetles can dig up 250 times their own weight in feces in a single night. A male dung beetle can pull 1141 times its own weight, equivalent to an ordinary person lifting two 18-wheel trucks! Relative to its size, this makes it one of the strongest animals in the world.

6. The opportunistic beetle

To spot dung, the Egyptian dung beetle uses an advanced sense of smell. These beetles usually sniff out an animal and ride on it while it waits for it to defecate. Dung beetles are also very opportunistic, adopting a breeder-seeking mentality with their droppings. Once the beetles have finished rolling the ball, they must move away from the dung pile quickly lest the ball be stolen by another beetle, which will quickly bury it.

Read more  How Many Pandas Are Left In The World? - 2023

5. An important part of our ecosystem

The Egyptian beetle aids tropical forests and agriculture by affecting seed burial and seedling recruitment. They do this by dispersing seeds from animal droppings. They add soil structure and nutrients by digesting and recycling manure. The Egyptian scarab also protects livestock by removing droppings that may harbor pests such as flies.

Therefore, many countries have introduced them to the livestock industry. In the United States, dung beetles bury so much above-ground animal waste, saving the cattle industry millions of dollars each year!

4. Egyptian beetles won't eat your flesh!

In the first of three mummy films, an ancient Egyptian tomb is invaded by swarms of fast-moving and dangerous scarabs. A swarm of Egyptian beetles killed even one character! But these carnivorous cravings are far from the nature of this beetle. Dung beetles eat feces, not human flesh. Scarabs don't need to devour meat or move quickly through herds because they don't need to survive.

3. If eyes could kill

Lifelike Illustration of an Egyptian Beetle

©iStock.com/neyro2008

The Egyptian beetle is black and shiny, with six ray-like appendages on its body. There are evenly spaced appendages for precise digging and shaping of dung balls. Although the front legs of Egyptian scarabs resemble those of other beetles, they do not have any discernible tarsal bones or claws at the ends. Only a small number of claw-like features remain, which can be used for digging. The length of this beetle is between 25 and 37 mm.

2. Jewelry has adorned for centuries

scarab in stone
Stone scarab artifacts from Egypt

© iStock.com/porpeller

In the beginning, all scarab parts were made of stone, but their popularity and importance grew over time, leading to more variations in the material. Scarab crafts became more popular and were soon made of faience and steatite, turquoise, amethyst and other gemstones. They vary in size and shape.

Read more  Visit America's Largest Zoo

In the Middle and Late Kingdoms, scarabs began to be used as ornaments for necklaces, tiaras, bracelets, rings and earrings. They are also used to decorate furniture. It was believed that the scarab gave the wearer mystical abilities and provided protection throughout the New Kingdom.

1. The Egyptian beetle is still beloved today

While the scarab is no longer a religious symbol in Egypt, it remains a cultural icon. Tourists in Egypt buy modern scarabs and amulets in markets and souvenir shops. Scarabs are also used as protection and lucky charms in jewelry. Egyptian scarab tattoos are a common symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

This ends what we know about the Egyptian beetle, or Egypt's famous scarab. These dung beetles have been around for millions of years and don't seem to be going away anytime soon, so hopefully this has given you a new perspective on these fascinating insects!

Next:

  • Saw an alligator biting an electric eel with 860 volts
  • The 15 Deepest Lakes in America
  • Watch rare coyotes and bobcats now