You know it’s a bad week when your human companions are considering taxidermy. While last weeks near debacle with law enforcement was not their fault Olive and Elvis have been a lot to manage recently. The day after we got home one of the Olvis pair scored a bar of dark chocolate. This bar of 72% darkness was in a heretofore safe spot hanging in the fruit basket over our counter. Now all chocolate reside in the microwave when partially eaten. Unopened bars are in the freezer staying safe from the mice and heat.
Chocolate and dogs can lead to gastrointestinal distress. The next day we came home after a brief excursion to poop and egg shells. Elvis stole all our eggs from the counter and ate them. Somebody pooped on the newly cleaned rugs. Time to wash the rugs again. All eggs are now safely stored in the fridge. Our fridge is small so we used to leave them out. The entire world outside of the US does not refrigerate eggs. It’s not a real safety issue. These eggs were especially safe as they were homegrown and had vener been chilled. Also, it was a sad loss because they were homegrown eggs. Oh, the super yellow, glossy yokes I will never see. I hope Elvis enjoyed them. We have re-upped our US citizenry and are now chilling the eggs to keep them out of dog’s reach.
Last night was when we discussed mounting postures for our soon to be taxidermied pooches. It was at 2 AM while we were outside in our PJs washing the dogs with a homemade anti-skunk potion. We weren’t doing this for fun. Despite seven previously unenjoyable encounters with skunks Elvis had to try once more. Just like three years ago a skunk must have peeked in our open door and the dogs blasted out ready to kill. Cue me googling Anti-skunk recipe. I’d used one before but couldn’t remember the ratio. Dawn, hydrogen perixide, and baking soda work pretty well and we always have it on board. Well, almost always. Now we are out of baking soda since I used it all last night. We are also down to our last bottle of H2O2 so I’ll have to refresh that. H2O2 is a purgative and needed at all times for inducing vomiting when dogs steal chocolate and accidentally poison themselves. I’m thinking the taxidermy display should have a skunk so future viewers will understand what happened. Our trailer, I presume, still reeks despite a total wash down. Olfactory fatigue has deadened my sense of smell. Luckily, or coincidentally, the rugs were not reinstalled after the egg fiasco so they don’t require a third washing this week.
On to more upbeat topics. I saw my first dung beetle in action this week. Dung beetles are the sewage workers of the world. They eat poop. They lay their eggs in poop. They love poop. Leave some poop and dung beetles take it away and help turn it into soil. Here’s what might happen to a turd pile near you. A turd is deposited and dung beetles find it. I presume they smell it. They fly or walk in. The males carve off bits of poop and roll it into balls and head away from the pile as fast as they can push. There are lazy dung beetles waiting around to steal balls of poop so if a beetle isn’t quick he could be robbed of his bounty. It’s a high stakes game. Female dung beetles follow the guy with the nice ball of crap. The male beetle pushes the ball in a kind of reverse wheelbarrow pose. His hind legs are pushing the ball and his front legs are pushing on the ground. His eyes are gazing skyward and he uses the sun or the STARS to navigate in a straight line away from the source poop pile and the competing beetles. The female might ride on top of the poop. The dung beetle is the first insect species proven to use celestial navigation. Where are they going I wondered? They are just using simple geometry to get as far away as possible from the literal shit storm of dung beetle competition. A straight line is the most efficient way to get far away. I watched my beetle push over rocks and through grass clumps. Once in a while he would climb on top of his poop ball for a better view but only when a particularly irksome obstacle impeded progress. And since they are pushing backwards it helps prevent them circling back to their starting point. People have a natural tendency to walk in a circle when lost. The dung beetle has overcome this.
After the beetle is safely away he and his lady friend might bury the poop and she’ll lay her eggs on it for the kids to eat. Or they might eat it themselves. All that buried poop does wonders for the soil. Check out the Dung Beetle Derby. I’ve posted a video of my pet beetles push to safety on Facebook. Here’s some more info describing the celestial navigation discovery and a pushing video.