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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

Devil's Coach Horse (Ocypus olens or Staphylinus olens)

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The best known Rove Beetle is the Devil's Coach Horse. This big black beetle is a very common species which is often found in gardens. Especially in autumn it is regularly found indoors, usually causing a mix of panic, fear and amazement by its lengthy black body and its agressive behaviour. When approached it will lift its head and curl up its abdomen. This makes it look like a very small scorpion. By showing how eager it is to attack it tries to intimidate its enemy. In fact it is a defense strategy. Devil's Coach Horse has big, powerful jaws, easily capable of penetrating the human skin causing a painful bite which won't go away quickly. And on the curled abdomen are two glands producing a very nasty smelling stuff it sprays into your direction. This is a very welcome guest in your garden though because it is very fond of eating snails. Measuring up to 33 mm this is the biggest of all European Rove Beetles. A very common species all over the British Isles, including the Shetlands.

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