The burying beetle. These beetles take recycling to a bizarre extreme.
For this enterprising insect a cadaver is a perfect place to raise a family.
A female arrives.
Love is in the stinky air.
Impressed with his find, she moves in...or rather, down.
The beetles will bury the body up to two feet underground.
They must hide it from vultures and the many other scavengers who fancy a shrew.
For the other scavengers, a dead shrew is just another meal.
But for the burying beetles, this cadaver is far more than a food source. It's their nursery.
Burying it is only the first step in a very long remodeling process. Their mandibles strip away the fur. Chemicals are secreted over the body to prevent it from spoiling...until it becomes unrecognizable from its former shrew self.
It's the beetles' equivalent of a well-stocked fridge...ready for the arrival of many hungry babies, up to 30, depending on the size of the corpse.
The parents protect them, clean them, and even feed them. They chew up the corpse and regurgitate it as beetle baby formula.
By the time the corpse is gone, the larvae will be ready to transform into adults.