The Rhinobeetle life cycle


Before rhinoceros beetles reach their famously large size, they go through several stages of development. Successfully raising these beetles as pets means understanding their four life stages and providing them with the specific care they need during each of these stages. Different species will take different amounts of time in each stage and will have different lifespans so please check the product description or email us for more information.

Stage 1: Egg

If you are breeding rhinoceros beetles, you need to provide the proper environment for egg laying. In environments with multiple male beetles, the males may fight using their horns to determine who earns the privilege of mating with the female. After the winner mates, the female will deposit her fertilized eggs underground so you need to provide the proper egg laying environment. In the wild, females usually lay their eggs in areas of decomposing plants or vegetation. To recreate that environment, you need an aquarium that contains at least 8 inches of top or compost soil. If you want your beetles to thrive, you may want a layer of moist substrate below that layer as well. The female can lay up to 50 eggs at one time. The eggs usually take three to four weeks to hatch into larvae. When you realize the eggs have hatched, move the adult beetles into another container.

Stage 2: Larvae

When the eggs hatch, the rhinoceros beetles are in their larvae or grub stage. This stage actually includes three substages known as instar and referred to as L1, L2 and L3. Instar is a period between molts that insects experience as they grow. During all of these substages, the beetle grubs will look similar to maggots or other insect larvae. However, the larvae will grow larger during each molt.

Towards the end of the L2 substage, you will be able to see a dent on the underside of male grubs that is not present on the females. If you wait until the third instar, you will notice a size difference between the males and females especially the head capsules. 

During the larval stage, you will need to replace the substrate reguarlly (depending on size of container) because the beetles will use the material for food. 

The larval process is slow for rhinoceros beetles. Depending on the specific species of rhinoceros beetle you are raising and the Stage/sex of the grub, your beetles may take up to a year to become adults (with larger species such as Dynastes hercules hercules).

Stage 3: Pupa

When the Yellowish L3 larvae begins to become very wrinkled and even darker  The rhinoceros beetle is entering is becoming a prepupae. At this point, the grub will dig itself a chamber in the soil where it will molt one last time. the beetle will remain in that chamber and will not need any additional nutrition or care but if the chamber collapeses you can place the beetle Pupa inside a artifical chamber made from flower arranging foam. The beetle will emerge from its molt and then the adult rhinoceros beetle will emerge from its chamber.

Stage 4: Adult

When the rhinoceros beetles emerge as adults, they can begin breeding after a short period of reduced activity. Pets rhinoceros beetles can be fed apples, bananas and other non citrus fruits but we suggest using prepackaged beetle jelly due to its long shelf life and it will not spoil quickly once opened or attract fruit flies. Rhinoceros beetles adults usually live 0.5-1 year depending on the species.




Caring for rhinobeetle larvae

To keep rhinoceros beetle larvae only three things are required:

art larvae

1. Good Substrate:

Check out the Beetle substrate article for more information (tfeel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if your having trouble accessing good substrate or if you have any further questions). Good substrate is me important for the development of larvae where as adults can be housed in regular substrate such as peat moss (except for breeding purposes).

2 Good containers:

appropriately sized as shown in the picture below (camera film container was used to keep L1, 5x5x6cm tubs can be used to keep L2s, 14x10x7cm Tubs to keep L3 Females and 20x12x10 cm container for large L3 males).  The bigger the container, the more substrate you need. Also the larvae are used to being in tight spaces - in the wild they live in crevices in rotting wood. These sizes was designed for the large species Dynastes hercules hercules so they will work for any larvae.


Containers should be made of a strongish plastic and you should make several small holes for ventilation. I use a heated needle to make the holes as drilling can leave sharp edges that can harm the larvae. Also note that the larvae are strong - they can push the lids off containers its for this reason I now only use containers with Screw on lids, as before it would not be uncommon for a larvae to escape.

You need a lot of patience, as some larvae take over a year to fully develop and become adults. Keeping a record of the larva weights is a good idea. They dont mind a small amount of handling but don't leave them out of the substrate for too long as they dry out and they don't really like the light.


Caring for adult rhinobeetles

There are only a small number of items you need to keep beetles. It is because it is this simple that many people choose to keep them as pets.
The diagram below shows all the items you need to successfully keep and breed adult rhinoceros beetles.
adult materials
Adult beetles do have the ability to fly and although it rare for them to do so and it usually only lasts for a few seconds it is best to make sure all windows and doors are not open if the beetle is not in its enclosure. The diagram below shows a "typical" enclosure for an adult.

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 68 Northridge Road, Gravesend, DA12 5AY,UK

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