On Wednesday, June 9, 2004, I found an eastern Hercules beetle resting on the gas pump near my home in Statesville, NC. I know that he is male because he has the most beautiful set of horns. He was quite docile whenever I found him; he may have been hungry or thirsty, I’m guessing. Anyway, I am keeping him in a ventilated clear box about 10″ by 18″ with a layer of a mixture of compost and mulch. I put a forked stick in there for him to climb on and a tiny, shallow bowl of water which I change every day. He burrows under the compost from time to time. He seems to like peeled apples and he has now become much more active. I’ve noticed that he is eating a bit of a fresh apple slice every day. He tries to rear up on his hind legs whenever I stroke his back. Unbenowance to me, I didn’t know that he is more properly called a Hercules beetle, rather than an eastern rhinoceros beetle. I had already named him Hercules! From what I’ve read, the Japanese rhinocerous beetles are sold as pets and can live to be three years old or so. What is your opinion of my keeping him as a pet? I enjoy watching him, but I certainly don’t want to shorten his lifespan by keeping him captive. If it’s okay to keep him, am I properly caring for him?
My grandchildren love “Nana’s critters”, as they call the numerous dead bumblebees, dragonflies, and other insects I’ve accumulated. This is the first time I’ve tried to keep a live insect. Any advice you can give me will be appreciated.
Diane Patrum

Dear Diane,
We have no experience keeping Hercules beetles alive, but they can be raised easily in captivity. Captive raised specimens are usually much larger than wild beetles. It sounds like you are doing everything correctly, and I see no reason why you shouldn’t keep your beetle as a pet if he is bringing you pleasure. You might want to try a google search with the word captivity as well as Hercules Beetle to find additional information. We would love to have you send in a photo if you are able. Have a nice day.

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