1. A stag beetle’s head and middle section are shiny black and they have chestnut brown wings.
2. Male beetles appear to have huge antlers. They are actually over-sized mandibles, used in courtship displays and to wrestle other male beetles.
3. Adult males vary in size from 35mm – 75mm long and can be seen flying at dusk in the summer looking for a mate.
4. A fully-grown stag beetle grub can grow up to 110mm long. They are nearly always found below ground and can be as deep as half a metre down.
5. Predators such as cats, foxes, crows, kestrels and others tend to strike at the most vulnerable stage in the beetle’s life cycle, usually when adults are looking to mate and lay eggs.
6. Stag beetles spend most of their long life cycle underground as grubs. This can be anywhere from three to seven years depending on the weather.
7. Adult stage beetles can’t feed on solid food. Instead they rely on the fat reserves built up whilst developing as a larva. They can use their feathery tongue to drink from sap runs and fallen soft fruit.
8. Although males can fly for up to 500m, most female stag beetles travel no more than 20m in a lifetime.
9. Stag beetles are also referred to as horse pinchers, thunder beetles and oak oxes.
10. Stag beetles are classed as a ‘priority species’, listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
What can you do?
Make your garden stag beetle friendly with a few simple steps.
- Cover any water butts, to avoid stag beetles drowning.
- Be alert for predators, especially cats and magpies.
- Avoid polythene sheeting. Emerging beetles can get trapped beneath them.
- Avoid burning dead wood, this could kill larvae and removes potential habitat.
- Lawn mowers can be lethal. Try to leave an unmown patch around log piles when beetles are emerging in May and June.
You can find more information about stag beetles here.
You can also record a stag beetle sighting as they are endangered here.