Stag Beetles are a rare sight in the UK, and recent monitoring programmes suggest that their numbers may be further diminishing and their range becoming even smaller than ever before. Read on to find out more about when and where you might be able to see this endangered animal…

WHERE ARE STAG BEETLES FOUND?

In the UK, Stag Beetles can be found across large parts of Southern England and are particularly widespread across the South-East of the country.  Whilst there have been some records from further North, but these are few and far between. Overall it is listed as being Nationally Scarce Category B (Hyman & Parsons 1992), which means that it is likely to occur in 100 or fewer 10×10 km national grid squares.

The map shows sightings mapped as a result of monitoring surveys carried out by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species between 2003 and 2019.

The Stag Beetle is often considered to be a woodland species, and is particularly strongly associated with oak woodland. Records from mainland Europe show that a large number of individuals across the continent do indeed favour that habitat, although they live almost solely on the edge of the woodland, rather than in its depths. However, in the UK our Stag Beetles seem to buck this trend and the vast majority of records in fact come from urban habitats such as gardens and urban parks.

In the UK the Stag Beetle is largely an urban species, so the best place to search for one may be your own back garden...

WHEN'S THE BEST TIME TO SEE A STAG BEETLE?

Stag Beetles are only active in the summer months. Having spent up to 6 years underground in their larval and pupal stages, the fully formed “adult” beetles start to emerge any time from around May and only live for about 3 months. During this time the beetles will mate, and females will lay eggs, starting the life cycle all over again.

Whilst some individuals may survive a bit longer than others, none of them will live through another winter – if you accidentally come across a Stag Beetle living underground during the winter months, it will be one that has pupated during the autumn and is waiting to emerge the following summer, rather than one that is hibernating for the winter.

Stag Beetles rely on warm weather to get them going so they’re most active on balmy summer evenings.

Females are more likely to be seen crawling around on the ground, whilst males are more likely to be seen airborne, or crawling to a higher vantage point from which they can take off.

HAVE YOU SEEN A STAG BEETLE?

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