Extreme Athletes – the Stag Beetle

A stag beetle is one of more than 1,200 different species of beetle that are native in Europe

It’s the largest species of insect to be found in the UK, but despite this, the stag beetle is becoming rarer and rarer in much of Britain and is now a protected species in much of it’s historic range.

The stag beetle is primarily found inhabiting deciduous woodlands and forest across the European continent where there is an abundance of food and plenty of hiding places for this armoured insect. Stag beetles are also becoming a more common sight in parks and gardens that provide artificial replacements of their native habitats.

Stag beetles are also becoming a more common sight in parks and gardens that provide artificial replacements of their native habitats.

The stag beetle can reach more than 10cm in length. The hard, armoured shell of the stag beetle provides it’s body with immense protection and is split into three parts (as with other insects) to give the stag beetle greater agility when moving around.

The most distinctive feature of the stag beetle is its long antler-like pincers which protrude from the head of the stag beetle.

The pincers of the male stag beetle are often considerably larger than those of the female are primarily used for holding onto prey.

Stag beetles also have wings that are protected by their shell when not being used, allowing the stag beetle to fly away if it feels threatened.

Despite their protective body armour, stag beetles are preyed up by a wide variety of animals throughout Europe. Bats, birds, rats and other rodents are the main predators of the stag beetle along with cats and dogs, and other larger mammals such as foxes.

Top Facts

  • This is an omnivorous insect, meaning they eat both veggies and meat!
  • They range from 2 to 4.8 inches in length¬†and live for 3 to 5 months
  • They’re considered ‘threatened’ by conservationists, meaning they’re very rare and may go extinct
  • They prey on decaying wood, nectar, and leaves but may be eaten by rats, bats and birds
  • Distinctive Features – Hard, armoured shell and large pincers

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