It is time for Britain's annual stag beetle survey, the Great Stag Hunt, which has been run by wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) for over 20 years.

Residents on the Isle of Wight are encouraged to get involved - last year there were 21 sightings recorded.

Spectacular adult stag beetles emerge from the ground in early summer and are easy to spot – they’re the largest land beetle in the UK and the males are instantly recognisable with their renowned antler-like jaws.

Native to Britain, they’re found in urban and suburban gardens, parks, woodland edges and the wider countryside, and are often seen basking on sunlit walls and warm Tarmac surfaces.

PTES is asking volunteers to record all sightings of these iconic insects online  at, recording either adult beetles or larvae (large, white grubs often found in soil).

No previous experience is needed, and free online beetle and larvae ID guides are available to help volunteers tell the difference between stag beetles and other insects.

If you’re on social media, PTES would love to see your stag beetle snaps using #GreatStagHunt and tagging @PTES.

The removal of deadwood and tree stumps from woodlands, parks and gardens in recent years means there’s less habitat for stag beetles (and other species that rely on deadwood) to survive.

They’re also vulnerable to being crushed by traffic and humans, as they’re attracted to warm pavements and other Tarmac surfaces.

David Wembridge, PTES mammal surveys coordinator, said: “We need volunteers to become part of a national effort to monitor these amazing animals.

"The data collected by the Great Stag Hunt gives an insight into where stag beetles live and what the impact of climate change might be.

"It’s easy to take part – if you spot a stag beetle on your commute, on the school run, whilst walking your dog or whilst going to the pub, simply record it online.”

To further help, those with a garden can create a small, half-buried log pile, which is the perfect habitat for stag beetles and countless other species.

The location of these log piles can be recorded on PTES’ interactive ‘Map Your Log Pile’.

To take part in the Great Stag Hunt and to find out more about stag beetles and PTES’ conservation work, visit

Male stag beetles have shiny black heads and thoraxes, with chestnut brown wing cases and can grow up to 75mm long.

Their antler-like jaws may look intimidating but they’re harmless and are most often seen flying at dusk looking for mates.

Females are slightly smaller (between 30-50mm long), have smaller mandibles (jaws) und are usually seen on the ground looking for somewhere to lay their eggs.

Stag beetles spend most of their life (between three to seven years!) underground as larvae, before they emerge as adults.

Larvae feed on rotting or dead wood about a foot beneath the soil surface, recycling nutrients and improving the soil condition.