Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

Dorset stag beetle sightings increase

Stag Beetle seen in profile from low angle

A stag beetle on a log, photographed by Nigel Brooks. Britain's largest beetle likes to live in dead wood.

UNUSUALLY high numbers of stag beetles are being seen in Dorset this year.

Dorset Wildlife Trust says the county’s unusually hot Spring seems to have brought these fantastic creatures out nearly a month earlier than normal.

Steve Halliwell, project co-ordinator for the Trust’s Wildlife On Your Doorstep Project, said: “Early this June, as I was relaxing in the garden one warm evening, I saw at least a dozen male stag beetles fly over, a phenomenon I have never witnessed before.”

Stag beetles are globally threatened. In Britain they’re protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

To see just one is a treat.

The male can grow up to 7.5 cms long – it’s Britain’s largest beetle – while the female rarely gets past 4.5 cms. However, the male is harmless, while the female can have a nasty bite.

Stag beetle numbers have been dropping since the 1940s, because of the destruction of their favoured dead wood habitats.

Dorset Wildlife Trust wants people to be less tidy in their gardens, and leave out old logs as possible places for stag beetles to live.

The Trust’s ‘Wildlife On Your Doorstep’ project offers a free information pack including  gardening tips, wildlife identification charts and recording sheets.

For more information see www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/woyd or contact Steve Halliwell at shalliwell@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk or ring Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01202 692033. The code is for the conurbation because Bournemouth is one of the UK’s hotspots for stag beetles.