Call of Nature: The Secret Life of Dung

Published by Pelagic Publishing

Journey through the digestive systems of humans, farm and wild animals, and meet some of nature’s ultimate recyclers as they eat, breed in and compete for dung. The fall of bodily waste onto the ground is the start of a race against the clock as a multitude of dung-feeders and scavengers consume this rich food source. From the enigmatic dung-rolling beetles to bat guano and giant elephant droppings, dung creates a miniature ecosystem to be explored by the aspiring dung watcher.

The author completes the book with an identification guide to dung itself, so that you can identify the animal that left it behind. Pellets or pats? Scats, spraints, frass, guano, spoor – learn your way around different species’ droppings. There’s also a dung-feeder’s identification guide that includes the species you’re most likely to encounter on an exploration of the dung heap.


  1. Introduction – what is dung?
  2. Cleanliness is next to fastidiousness – the human obsession with sewage
  3. Waste not – dung as a human resource
  4. It’s worth fighting over – dung as a valuable ecological resource
  5. Dung communities – interactions and conflicts
  6. The evolution of dung feeding – where did it all begin?
  7. A closer look – who lives in dung?
  8. Cross section of a dung pat – a slice of coprophagous life
  9. The ageing process – time line of a dung pat
  10. Dung problems – the end of world ordure as we know it
  11. Dung types – an identification guide
  12. Dung inhabitants and dung feeders – a rogues’ gallery
  13. Dung is a four-letter word – a scatological dictionary