I may have shown you the dramatically named Devil’s Coach Horse before, but this one posed beautifully as he tried to convince me he was actually a scorpion!
The Devil’s Coach Horse is quite a common beetle but being a lover of damp nights as so many beetles are, many folk have never seen one.
For this reason it is not unusual for me to be called out when one or two turn up in houses giving terrified humans their first close veiws of the beastie!
They are, of course, harmless to humans and their posturing is all bluff but who is going to take the chance?
You may just be able to see a white tip to this one’s tail.
This is an acrid smelling and foul tasting secretion which the beetle uses to deter birds from eating it.
And, of course, those fearsome jaws used for preying upon other insects,are equally useful for defense.
Might I take the opportunity to address architects or budding architects?
Door steps are to keep insects out of our houses.
Many of the call outs I attend for beetles, spiders and slugs are due to them coming in under the door of modern houses with no doorsteps.
In fact, any pest controller could tell you many pest problems are caused by building design.
What we need are architechs who know a wee bit about wildlife!
So, if your floors are at ground level and you are visited by a Devil’s Coach Horse, blame your architect, not the beetle!
What to do is to usher the wee beastie into a jar and release it in long vegetation outside.
And don’t worry - it only thinks it’s a scorpion!