Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hey, What's the Poop?

Burrowing owls inhabit the wild from Canada to Chile, and I'm willing to bet that hardly anyone reading this post has any idea that they actually surround their nests with the poop of other wildlife. What a factoid!

Why in the name of Carmen Electra would they do something like that?

Well, there was one theory that said the reason was one of egg security: the poop perimeter was there to ward off snakes and other predators. But researchers then found that the number of nests being raided were the same whether the owl nests had poop surrounding them.

The next theory suggested that male owls ringed their subterranean abodes with fecal matter in the hope of attracting female owls. That's a strange theory, and in an effort to move on without getting into fringe lifestyles, I'll just say that that particular theory was canned, too, after researchers discovered that the male owls lined their nests with dung only after they had already hitched up with an owl-babe.

Finally, then, the truth was revealed: The clever owls use their crap collections to lure in unsuspecting prey such as dung beetles, who themselves just can't get enough of another creature's doo-doo.


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