I found this beautiful creature is some horse muck when I was digging some from the heap for the sunflowers. I carefully carried him and put him back on top of some muck on my sunflower beds. Then I watched as he burrowed back down into the depths.
Clever and amazing creatures, they get in there and tunnel through that manure, recycle the nutrients and get them back into the soil which is exactly what we need with our now depleted and nutrient poor agricultural land. This will help the grass to grow for our grazing animals. They do it for free too. Plus, they aerate the soil, reduce fly populations, and help control intestinal parasites by reducing dung suitability for worm larvae. Finally, they are food for birds and bats!
However, we are working against them, they are in decline. We use medicine and antibiotics so routinely in farm animals now the dung is toxic to them and cannot support them.
We need to rethink how we look after our cattle, sheep and horses, because by working against these creatures, intentionally or not we are working against ourselves and our future. Instead of routine worming, treat animals when needed rather than as a preventive, use faecal egg counts. Pasture rotation will help break the cycle of the parasites and give the beetles the time to work their magic and improve your soil, and also reduce the need to harrow, apply fertilizers and poo pick, a back breaking job! Then we can increase the numbers of these creatures which need back and functioning in our eco system. Something to think about and research further if you are a livestock owner or own a horse.