- What is Spike?
Spike is a male stag beetle, species Dorcus alcides.
- Where is he from?
Spike’s species is indigenous to Sumatra, Indonesia. Spike lived in Nagano prefecture, Japan, with his owner Mandy until March 2018. Then he was imported with his permits to live in Pennsylvania in the USA.
- How old is Spike?
Though his exact age wasn’t told by the breeder, the best guess is that he pupated around December of 2016.
- How long do stag beetles live?
This changes from species to species. Dorcus alcides can live for 2-5 years in their adult form, but others can live for a much shorter time. Some rhinoceros beetle species only live a few months.
- What do they eat?
In the wild, stag beetles eat tree sap and rotting fruit. They aren’t predators – the males’ mandibles are used to used for courtship behavior and fighting other males. In captivity, stag beetles eat small cups of “beetle jelly”.
Spike’s favorite treats are banana and watermelon.
- How are they cared for?
Depending on species, stag beetles are easy to care for. They are kept in a humid enclosure, with moist soil to burrow in and wood to climb on. They need places to hide and dig, and don’t require a heat lamp.
This is a very brief overview, and all species are different! More resources:
- I want my own stag beetle! Where can I get one?
This is different for every country. Stag beetles are a threatened species, so there are regulations put in place to protect them.
In parts of Asia, stag beetles are being poached without permits. Too many are taken from the wild, which is damaging their native populations (more info).
If you’re interested in a beetle of your own, please make sure that the beetle was legally obtained, and bred in captivity. You can look on google for what is allowed in your country/state.
Almost every country has indigenous stag and rhino beetles, too! Research what species may live in your neck of the woods.
- Do stag beetles bite?
Stag beetles are not harmful to humans. They may pinch with their mandibles, but this is more startling than it is dangerous. All species are different, and some are more aggressive than others.
Temperament depends on both the species and the individual.
(Spike only pinches fingers when startled... Sorry, Spike!)
- Can stag beetles fly?
Yes! But, Spike has never tried.
- Who else lives with Spike?
Spike has three beetle friends – Sally, Julius, and Cleo. They are all the same age as Spike.
Sally is a Dorcus alcides female, and was brought home with Spike as a pair.
Julius and Cleo are a pair of rainbow stags (phalacrognathus muelleri) from Australia. They aren’t as artistic as Spike, but they do fly, a talent he’s yet to unleash.
Male stag beetles will fight each other (females have been known to do damage as well) so all four beetles have their own enclosures.
- Why does Spike ‘draw’?
In the wild, stag beetles (much like the deer they are named for) will use their strong mandibles to grapple other males for dominance. Spike does the same to a marker, resulting in some abstract squiggles. That’s the best guess as to why Spike does what he does.
(Or perhaps it’s just artistic passion?)
- Is Spike being forced to draw?
Not at all. Spike is perhaps the most pampered insect you could meet.
is days consist of digging around his enclosure, eating jellies, and stretching all six of his legs in a beetle-proofed room. Sometimes he feels like holding a pen, sometimes he doesn’t. Spike is very loved, and will never be forced to do anything he doesn’t want to.
He lets the artistic spirit take him when he pleases.