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Meet Spike the Stag Beetle: artist, muse, and star of Twitter

Meet Spike the Stag Beetle: artist, muse, and star of Twitter


His name is Spike and he loves to draw

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Image credit: @SpikeTheBeetle

You know the rules: here on the internet we give every animal in creation at least one shot at being “the best.” So far we’ve tried dogs, cats, pigs, bats, raccoons, foxes, and bears, and I think you’ll agree it’s about time we stopped futzing around with mammals and tried out the most dominant animal on earth: the beetle. Particularly, this very good stag beetle named Spike, who loves to draw and eat jelly.

Spike got his first brush with fame after a tweet from owner Mandy showing off the beetle’s artistic talents went viral. The tweet’s now gone (Mandy has locked her account) but in its place we have a dedicated Twitter account for @SpikeTheBeetle. And, yes, he’s still churning out adorable masterpieces:

We exchanged some Twitter DMs with Mandy, an English teacher from America currently living in Japan. She explained that beetles are actually a pretty common pet in Japan, especially large, horned beetles like the Atlas beetle, Japanese rhinocerous beetle, and Neptune beetle. They can be good pets in apartments where cats or dogs aren’t allowed and space is at a premium.

“I think they're really interesting,” says Mandy. “Unlike a lot of small pets, they don't dash off quickly, and can cling to clothes. So you can sit and work, or watch TV, with a little guy on your shoulder for company.”

Mandy says the beetles use their mandibles (those big claw-like appendages) for hanging on to things, or for fighting. And if you put an object in from them, they like to grab it. Whatever that object is:

Mandy says she’s owned a few beetles before, and that different beetles have different personalities. “Some are calm, others are perky, or aggressive,” she says. Mandy owns two other beetles at the moment, and keeps them in terrariums full of soil, leaves and wood.

They eat beetle jelly — a nutritious goo that’s designed specially for insects, beetles, and some reptiles. It’s mainly water and sugar, with added fruit juice and protein. Usually, owners feed their beetles by placing the jelly (which looks just like something humans would eat) in a hollowed out wooden holder. Mandy says Spike likes to turf his jelly out so he can sit inside:

And would Mandy recommend anyone gets a stag beetle? “I think beetles aren't for everyone,” she says. “They're more interesting than cuddly, like a reptile. But as a plus, they are very, very low maintenance!” And, of course, you get all that sweet, sweet beetle art.

Bye Spike!