Breeding Rhinoceros Beetles

Breeding Rhinoceros Beetles

Hi, my name is Arthur and I live in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.   I love studying insects and have successfully bred a few different species of beetles and other insects.

I became interested in bugs when I was 3 years old.  When I was 6, I started getting interested in Rhinoceros Beetles.  I started breeding Rhinoceros Beetles when I was 8 years old, but at that time I didn’t know much about the process and unfortunately my breeding failed that year.

In 2018, I learnt more about breeding and I successfully bred 20 grubs. I decided to release them because I didn’t know how to take care the larvae. In 2020 I learnt how to look after the larvae (grubs). I studied them so much that year that I successfully reared 110 adult Rhinoceros Beetles after almost a year of growing in their terrarium.  My biggest one was about 6.5cm

The terrarium I used is a big plastic box with rotting logs and fruit.  The adults only live about 2-4 months and they will naturally start breeding.

Rhinoceros Beetles (Xylotrupes gideon) are one of the largest of all beetles, and also the strongest.   They are able to lift up to 850 times their own weight. That’s like a human lifting up four double-decker buses filled with passengers. Rhinoceros Beetle grubs are great at helping to aerate your lawn.

All Rhinoceros Beetles are herbivorous. The adults feed on nectar and fruit like bananas and grapes.   The larvae (grubs) eat decaying plant matter.

Males will fight each other for a female by wrestling each other with their horns, and they will use their horns to drive another male away from the female beetle during a mating ritual.

Adults weigh between 18 and 28 grams.  Males are between 55 and 80 mm long. Females are lighter but can be longer than the males.

Rhinoceros beetles are easy to maintain and care for, in fact, they need very little care at all. Because of this, the care time required and the cost of upkeep is virtually nil, yet they are very interesting and unique.

Arthur with his brother and his pet Fig Longicorn Beetle (Batocera Boisduval)

When the sun is out, they hide under logs or in vegetation to camouflage themselves from the few predators big enough to want to eat them. If rhinoceros beetles are disturbed, some can release very loud, hissing squeaks. The hissing squeaks are created by rubbing their abdomens against the ends of their wing covers.

An external pair of thick hard wings sit on top of another set of membranous wings, allowing the rhinoceros beetle to fly, although not very efficiently, owing to its large size. Their best protection from predators is their large size and stature. If Rhinoceros Beetles are disturbed, some can release very loud hissing sound.

From L to R:  Rhinoceros Beetle Larvae (grub), Female and Male.

Even though they will hiss or look like they might pinch you with their horns and claws, Rhinoceros Beetles can’t hurt humans. Their claws and horns just aren’t strong enough.

Arthur checks on his Rhinoceros Beetle Grubs

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