Gross out your attacker
Potato beetles collect their poo on their backs to revolt any would-be assailants
As much as the main point of eating is to stay alive, you also want to enjoy your food. Therefore, making yourself as disgusting as you possibly can is a great way to make predators look elsewhere for something a little tastier to eat.
Few animals embody this better than the rather aptly named hoopoe bird, which rubs a fluid secreted from a gland near its anus all over its plumage, thereby deterring most predators as the substance the bird is covered in reeks of rotting flesh. Fulmar birds have a similar method, spitting an oil at their attackers that smells vile and doesn’t come off, completely putting the predator off its lunch. It also sticks an enemy bird’s feathers together, making it difficult to fly and unlikely to bother a fulmar bird again.
The potato beetle is another keen recycler of its own faecal matter – holding up its own poop as a shield. This not only tastes awful but can also be poisonous if the beetle has eaten deadly nightshade or a similar toxic plant.
“The beetle holds up its own poop as a shield. This tastes awful but can also be poisonous
if it’s eaten deadly nightshade”