Rhinoceros Beetle

Facts & Identification

Latin Name

Subfamily Dynastinae


Rhinoceros beetles are noticeably large, some growing up to six inches long. They have a thick exoskeleton protecting their bodies and are named for the large horns found on males. Most are black or gray and may be covered in hairs. They have wings and are able to fly, however, their large size makes flight very inefficient.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Rhinoceros beetles are considered remarkable because they can lift up to 850 times their own weight. These beetles are very common and are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Rhinoceros beetles are nocturnal and eat an herbivorous diet of sap, nectar, decaying wood and fruit. During the larvae stage, they eat more than they ever will in their adult form, and their appetite slowly decreases as they age. The beetles form their exoskeleton in the pupae stage.

They use their horns to fight other males for a mate and to dig into soil for shelter. When disturbed, some rhinoceros beetles make a loud hissing squeak with their abdomen.

Despite their menacing appearance, rhinoceros beetles are harmless to humans. Their large stature and extremely hard exoskeleton are used to ward off predators such as birds and snakes. In fact, rhinoceros beetles are so gentle they are becoming popular pets in parts of Asia.


Female rhinoceros beetles lay about 50 eggs at a time and do not live long after reproducing. The eggs take about three weeks to hatch, and then the larvae go through three molts during the next three to five years before becoming pupae.