Huge Monster

June 14, 2006 By: erik Category: Photos, Weird 1,975 views

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For some reason, I often take my camera on my always-uneventful, five minute trip to buy bread every day. Nothing photo-worthy every happens. Until today…

Right in my path, lying on its back, was this scary creature.


Look at those pinchers!

On my way back a few minutes later, he had righted himself.


Here he comes! Run!


You really have to have big grapling hooks on your feet to allow such a huge critter to walk up vertical surfaces.

I measured the size of those squares with my keychain, and then later measured the mark on my keychain with a tape measure. Each square is 5×5 cm (2×2 inches). This guy was a little longer than one of the squares. So he was just a little smaller than the computer mouse in your hand.1

Looks like it’s scary bug nightmares for me tonight…

1Did I make you take your hand off the mouse?

  • Paul

    It looks like his right rear leg is broken. You should have taken him to a vet!

  • Good point! Actually, I think his bigger problem is the absense of his left hind leg. I’m more of an etymologist than an entomologist, but I suspect those little wimpy feelers in front don’t count as legs in the official “all insects have six legs” count. Nor do the scary red pinchers o’ death.

  • Betsy

    This fellow is definitely missing some important components. If he had any natural enemies they would be at a great advantage. I’m guessing that curious little boys might be his worst nightmare. I wonder if his bug friends call him Gimpy?

  • Little boys and bug friends can be so cruel!

  • Uncle Neil

    That is a male European Stag Beetle. The American Stag Beetle looks the same and is interestly enough most common in North Carolina. Your Aunt Barb has a slug of bug books and I was reading up on life styles of the male and female Lucanus elephas. If you want to explore information about the life style of your guy in Spain you could probably find information under Lucanus cervus. Don’t feel too bad for this guy. There have been over 700,000 insect species identified by humans so far and they do much better in a bad environment than humans and they don’t create a bad environment for themselves. Barb’s bug books say that stag beetles used to be much more common. It is not little boys but loss of habitat. The female needs damp decaying timber to lay eggs and humans like to clear that out. Your guy has strong wings and flies at dusk in search of females. The flight can be rather erratic and the beetle will fly through open doors and windows and crash land on your face while you are sleeping. Don’t worry his antlers are used to fight other males and are useless for biting. The female stag beetle however has tiny antlers that will give you a very sharp nip. She does bite.

  • Uncle Steve

    Neil, you need to get out more….

  • Wow. And the award for Most Informative Comment goes to….

    I can’t believe you left out this little tidbit from the Wikipedia page:

    The modern Italian word for a toy kite cervo volante (and hence the French cerf-volant) may derive from the ancient amusement of flying the beetles on a length of thread.

    Neil, you really could have left out the part about them flying through open windows and crash landing on your face.

  • That guy is a lot bigger than the one I found.
    The most disturbing info I could find is how the female lays up to 50 eggs at a time. I saw 3 of them crawling out of a rotting tree trunk. Yikes.