Are You A Demented Dung Beetle?

by Steven Hourston on June 1, 2012

The best holiday I’ve ever been on started with a safari just to the south of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Joost, our guide was brilliant. Mighty elephants blocked our way, a leopard hauled its prey high into a tree, a cheetah searched frantically for a lost cub and a lean lioness stared straight into my eyes and then licked her lips. I bravely took her photo.

All the time Joost charmed us with his knowledge, humour and passion for the animals.

On our last morning as we returned from our dawn game drive, our Jeep suddenly screeched to a halt. Joost leaped out, more excited than ever. He motioned for us to keep quiet and then waved us over to join him. He’d spotted a dung beetle.

The Demented Dung Beetle

This dung beetle was the most persistent creature I’ve ever seen. We watched for what seemed like ages, as it tried to roll its ball of dung up a small, but steep incline. It failed repeatedly . But it didn’t give up, it tried again and again. I willed it to succeed, mainly because I could almost smell our breakfast. In the end it did it, bringing the sort of elation I feel when Scotland win a game of rugby.

What the beetle didn’t know, was that just inches to either side of its chosen route, the slope was much easier. If it had looked, it would have seen a much easier path for its perfect ball of dung.

Do you have your Dung Beetle moments?

Times where head down persistence triumphs over pausing and checking for easier or better alternatives? I know I do and sometimes it takes me a while to realise I’m being a demented Dung Beetle.

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