Stag beetles are Britain’s largest land beetle, with males reaching up to 7.5 centimetres in size. They are also one of the most spectacular looking insects, with a male’s huge mandibles (antler-like jaws) making them easy to spot.
Despite their appearance, stag beetles are harmless if left alone, and from mid-to-late-May are more likely to be seen as warmer evenings draw them above ground to find a mate.
Loss of habitat and lack of dead or decaying wood are just two of the reasons why stag beetles are now endangered. Stag beetles are completely reliant on dead wood (either partially or completely buried) and are part of the process of recycling nutrients back into the soil, making them a very important part of the ecosystem.
They mainly live in Britain’s gardens, parks, woodland edges and traditional orchards, and were once widespread throughout Europe. The People’s Trust for Endangered Species has been running an annual stag beetle survey for over 20 years to help monitor and protect them. Anyone with a garden can help by making their green spaces a stag beetle haven. From creating a log pile, to leaving plenty of dead wood around, there are lots of things you can do to help.