Saturday, 19 September 2009


Isn't it typical? You go out for a walk in the countryside, the sun shines on you, the birds sing in the trees around you. As you saunter along the pathways, enjoying the wonders of nature, suddenly you are presented with a 'thug' threatening you with the promise of violence if you come any closer. Am I talking about the ever increasing number of 'hoodies' which seem to be populating this land? No! Am I referring to the old age pensioners on their electric chairs who go screeching around the streets mowing down everyone who dares to get in their way? No! I am, of course speaking of the Devil himself - in the form of a small beetle called the Devil's Coach Horse (Ocypus olens).
Can you believe it? Threatened by a beetle (yes, a beetle) as we go about our lawful business!
The Devil's Coach Horse Beetle is a member of the Rove Beetle family and fairly common in Britain although, because it is usually nocturnal, they are not very often seen. A predatory beetle, it feeds on other invertebrates and has a particular liking for worms, woodlice and almost anything already dead.
The formidable jaws are quite strong enough to inflict a painful bite on humans and can make very short work of it's prey. The habit of curling up it's abdomen in a threatening display, makes it look a little scorpion-like and, although it has no sting in it's tail, it does however, have a pair of white glands in the tail which excrete a foul-smelling liquid as a deterrent to further molestation. So there we are, a feisty, aggressive little beetle with more attitude than a whole gang of hoodies.
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