As a beetle lover, you have probably seen some monsters in your lifetime. But I bet you have rarely seen any specimen as majestic, imposing, and straight-up beautiful as the Caucasus beetle. Most people wouldn’t use an epithet like “beautiful” when describing a beetle, but that’s only because they haven’t seen a Caucasus yet.
This Scarabaeidae family has some of the largest specimens in the beetle world, and the Caucasus beetle is no exception. But what should you know about this specimen, and can you grow it successfully in captivity?
Yes, you can, provided you educate yourself on several aspects, including:
Caucasus Beetle Natural Habitat
The Caucasus beetle (Chalcosoma Chiron) originates in Asia, covering areas like Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Indochina, and Malaysia. Like any Scarabaeidae, this one also prefers warm and humid environments, where they can find plenty of food.
Mimicking this environment is key for their development, especially when considering that they spend their first growth cycle in a larva state for at least a year.
The larva will require a lot of food, humidity, warmth, and room to grow, which it usually gets plenty of in the wild. You will need the same environmental factors for the adult beetle as an abundance of food and optimal environmental conditions will ease the reproductive process.
Caucasus Beetle Characteristics
The Scarabaeidae family has many members, and not all are alike. The Caucasus beetle, in particular, comes with a variety of physical characteristics that make it unique. Some of these include:
The Caucasus beetle is black, and there are few shade differences between the male and the female. If it were not for the male’s horns and his obvious size boost, you could easily mistake it for the female.
The male, however, has 3 massive head horns that are probably the most impressive of its species. The Caucasus male will use those horns to attack other males during the mating phase, search the soil for food, and remove tree bark to reach the delicious sap underneath.
– Size & Growth
The male’s length will vary between 2.5 to 5 inches, while the female will remain around 1 to 2.5 inches with small variations on both sides. The Caucasus beetle is among the largest specimens of its species and has the most impressive horns you can find.
You can get your Caucasus male beetle even larger with proper care and the ideal habitat conditions. If you want to get the most out of your beetle, I suggest making sure its parents are on the bigger size, and you get the best growing tips. Speak to professional breeders about tips and tricks you can try to boost your beetle’s size above the average.
While the adult is relatively peaceful and non-combative, things are vastly different when it comes to larvae. The Caucasus larvae tend to be extremely combative by nature, even attacking and devouring fellow larvae if stumbling across one another.
You should pay attention when handling the larvae since they have a tendency to bite. Unlike the adult beetle, who’s a sweetheart when in a good mood. And it’s always in a good mood.
Everything you need to know about the beetle’s defense capabilities begins with its horns. And ends with them. The Caucasus male has some of the biggest, meanest, and most dangerous horns of its species, perfect for feeding and defending its right to mate.
Male fights always occur around females ready to breed and, although not deadly, they can sometimes cause some damage. Since the male is covered with thick protective plates, the horns will rarely wound or kill.
The victor is usually decided by turning the opponent on its back or having him quit the battle. Other than that, the male will use the horns to look for tree sap, dig the ground for fruits, humidity, and any potential rotten food, and simply look awesome.
– Life Cycle
The female will lay the eggs underground, looking for a spot with humid, soft, and nutritious soil. A lot of decaying matter will help since that’s what the larvae will consume after hatching. The larvae will undergo 3 molting phases during their lifespan, growing in size each time.
They will spend most of their underground time eating, and the more nutritious and abundant the food, the larger the larva will grow. The larva will live underground between 12 to 15 months, after which it will turn into a pupa.
The pupa phase is short, usually only lasting between 1 to 2 months. Then you have the adult beetle, which will live between 3 to 5-6 months, during which it will try to breed and spread its genes. The females beetles tend to live longer than the males both in the wild and in captivity.
Caucasus Beetle Care
Knowing these facts, you probably wonder which of them you should consider when caring for your beetle and build its environment. The answer is all of them. The Caucasus beetle needs specific environmental conditions to thrive, including temperature, humidity, food, etc.
Here are the specifics to keep in mind:
– Diet & Nutrition
The larva will typically consume dead tree trunks and decaying matter and will eat pretty much around the clock. In the wild, they will typically live underground in humid soil, rich in nutrients. That’s where it will take most of its water and food.
Dead tree bark and rotten roots are ideal foods for a growing larva. The adult will typically eat decaying fruits that it will either find on the forest substrate or dig them up from under the leaves and soil. Just like the larvae, adult beetles are on the food hunt almost 24/7.
The difference is that now, as they have evolved into adult beetles, the food won’t help them grow in size anymore. All the growth occurs during the larva phase, which is why you need to make sure the larvae get as much food as possible.
While all the rhino beetles are part of the same species, they all enjoy slightly different things in terms of food, temperature, humidity, and environmental decorations.
I suggest preparing a rich substrate with moist soil, leaves, dead hardwood, grass, etc. Everything that would come together to mimic the beetle’s natural environment and help it feel like home.
The environment should stick within specific temperature and humidity parameters to optimize the comfort of your Caucasus beetle. The ideal temperature revolves around 64 to 75 °F, and the humidity level can vary between 50% to 75%.
The numbers can vary slightly, but make sure you don’t go over the top in one direction or another. The Caucasus beetles are adaptable, but too many environmental variations can affect them long-term like with any other animal.
That’s even more important when considering that beetles typically live 35% to 50% less in captivity than the wilderness. This is due to a combination of captivity stress and unfit environmental conditions that’s common with any wild animals brought up in captivity.
The exception comes with animals that we have domesticated over millennia like cats, dogs, horses, cows, etc., of which many breeds won’t even live in the wild.
– Health Problems
Most health problems that beetle tend to face come from unfit living conditions. The humidity, in particular, can play a major role in that, along with the environmental temperature. You can generally tell if something’s wrong with your beetle if it refuses food or seems lethargic.
When that happens, I suggest checking its habitat and see if everything’s within the charts. I even recommend checking the parameters regularly to avoid any types of problems arising in the future.
The Caucasus beetle will undergo your typical beetle growth phases just like any member of the species, no matter the subfamily. The standard egg – larva – pupa – adult cycle may last around two years from start to finish.
The beetle will spend around 12 to 15 months as a larva, then it will turn into a pupa for 1 to 2 months, and then it will transform into an adult. You will most likely not witness the metamorphosis process first-hand since it will take place underground.
Your most meaningful interactions with the beetle will be during its adult phase when you can pick it up and manhandle it from time to time.
There are several things I would like to add in the closing. These may not seem that important, but I think they’re worth mentioning anyway. Firstly, the larva is kind of a fierce animal.
I know I’ve already mentioned this point, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. It doesn’t know much about being a pet, and it won’t recognize you as its caregiver. As a result, they will bite if you give them the opportunity. So, don’t.
Secondly, the adult beetle, the male, in particular, is very powerful. It can lift and carry 85 times its own weight. And it has huge claws that will stick into the flesh like meat hooks.
The Caucasus beetle won’t hurt you on purpose, but it might do it unintentionally. Be careful when handling it, especially when it’s hungry and tends to be more agitated. It will attempt to climb you like a meat mountain, and it will not be a pleasant experience. For you, at least.
Other than that, if you have any questions about the Caucasus beetle, I would be happy to answer them one by one in the comment section below. You can also use the contact form if you need more in-depth clarifications about the subject.Beetles