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Creatures find unique, helpful uses for poop
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OUTDOORS JUST FOR KIDS

Creatures find unique, helpful uses for poop

Pandas and poo

Animals use poo for many purposes, or should I say poo-poses?

Most recently, scientists found Asian honey bees in the country of Vietnam were using animal poo, also known as dung, to scare off giant hornets. The hornets are a threat to the bees, killing them all if they get to the hive.

So some of the smart bees started hauling dung and sticking it around the entrances to their hives. It worked to keep the deadly hornets away.

The scientists said this was the first time bees were seen using their searching skills to find such an unusual chemical weapon. Usually they are searching out plants for the nectar they need to survive.

“What is also interesting is that the bees themselves are not repelled by the animal feces," said scientist Heather Mattila.

Honey bees in North America already face a number of problems, including poor nutrition, chemicals put on plants to kill bugs, bacteria and other changes to their environment. Giant hornets known as "murder hornets” were recently found in Washington and Canada. Hopefully our honey bees will also discover the use poo or something else as a defense against these invaders.

Another animal that has an unusual use for poo is giant panda bears. Scientists wondered why the cuddly looking animals would roll in horse poop. They also rubbed it on their cheeks and body, but only when it was cold outside.

By studying the situation, scientists discovered hay the horses ate contain chemicals that may be helping the black and white bears stay warmer by changing their body’s chemical perception of cold.

These are just a few of the recently documented uses of poo by creatures. Just a reminder, in case you get any ideas, poo can also be full of harmful bacteria that can make you sick. Don’t be like these animals. Remember to wash your hands after you use the bathroom.

— Brett French, french@billingsgazette.com

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