Creatures of the Amazon
Rhinoceros Beetle

By Mike Collis

Megaceras briansaltini

Rhino beetles live in tropical countries all over the World from Australia to the Americas. There are over 300 different types of rhino beetles and they are all big, their size being their best defence against predators. They start off as larva and eat rotting vegetation and wood. The larva change their skin 3 times before becoming an adult Rhino Beetle. Rhino Beetles usually stay in the larva form for up to 3 years.

Rhinoceros Beetles have shiny black armour covering their bodies and have 2 large horns on their heads. Rhino Beetles do not use their horns for defence but use them for rustling up the rotten leaves and vegetation on the rainforest floor when foraging for food. The horns are also used in combat when 2 males fight over a female. These giant beetles can grow up to 2 and a half inches in length and weigh up to one ounce. Although they are big and look fierce they are really quite gentle and completely harmless. Dangerous they certainly are not, but strong they definitely are. Rhino Beetles are actually the strongest creatures on Earth. Elephants are strong, we know that, and ants can lift up to 5 times their own weight, but the Rhino Beetle can lift up to 850 times their own weight. If a man tried to equal a Rhino Beetle he would have to pick up something weighing 65 tons! Rhino Beetles make good pets, but males should be kept apart because they like fighting.

It is illegal to take out Rhino Beetles out of Peru and all other countries where they are found. At present Japanese collectors will pay up to $3,000 for a live specimen.
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