#CreatureFeature – Ocypus olens (Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle)

The Devil’s Coach Horse Beetle, also known as Devil’s footman, devil’s steed, and cock-tail beetle, is a common beetle found in gardens and under rocks.

They are also common in grasslands, woodlands, heathlands and on farmlands. The Devil’s coach horse are predators that emerge after dark to feed on insects, worms, snails and slugs. 

Aleksandrs Balodis, 2018

They have a brown-black exoskeleton and grow to a length of 2-3cm. The Devil’s coach horse is well known for their most distinctive feature, their long curling tail. Usually, they are solitary unless they feel threatened, then they will raise their pointy tail and emit a noxious substance to deter predators. Devil’s coach horse can also use their pincer-like jaws to crush their predators but also bite humans too. 

After mating in Autumn, females lay a single egg in soil and the larvae hatch and spend a winter as a pupae, emerging the following spring as an adult. 

The Devil’s coach horse is widespread, mainly distributed in Europe and North Africa. They are commonly found in rotting animal carcasses feeding on maggots.  




Paige Kirby – Biodiversity Trainee

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