from Mike Strick, in UK.
Every year in early summer, the stag beetles emerge to find mates. They have spent the first five to seven years of their life underground as larvae and now have just a few short weeks to live as adults.
Every year I'm shocked by how many people fail to recognise these icons of British wildlife, and am saddened by how many beetles end their lives crushed underfoot. Stag beetles have been around virtually unchanged for millions of years, and are not equipped to survive in an urban environment. Their numbers have declined drastically over the past few decades and the species is seriously endangered.
If you see one on a pavement, please move it out of harm's way. Despite being large (the male can be up to three inches long), they are placid and harmless provided you don't stick a finger between the male's large 'antlers', which can inflict quite a strong pinch. Pick them up gently with finger and thumb on either side of the thorax (the middle part of the body, behind the head) and move them into a garden or similar. If you're not sure how, here's a video of us rescuing a male from a path:
Please keep an eye open for them. In flight in the early evening they are phenomenal, flying in an upright and rather ungainly style, making a noise like a small fighter plane. They tend to make a pretty uncontrolled landing, often ending up on pavements, which is where you’re most likely to see them and where they need your help to get to safety. The recent high winds are probably giving them trouble, meaning that they could end up in particularly tricky situations.
If you have children, it would be a big help if you could make sure they know about stag beetles too. Kids probably come across them more frequently than their parents. If they know what they are and what to do, the beetles are more likely to survive the encounter!
These are spectacular animals. We really have nothing else like them. It would be a shame if we lost them forever.
<edit> Wow - over 100000 shares! Great to know so many people care - thank you so much for spreading the word! If each one of those shares helps save just one beetle it could make a real difference.
Another way you can help is to report any stag beetles you find to one or both of these sites. More data on where they're found will help establish why they're declining and how we can prevent it:
Here is an amazing observation of male stag beetles fighting: