Press release: Record spectacular stag beetles this summer

Home // Press releases for the media // Press release: Record spectacular stag beetles this summer

Volunteers needed for annual ‘Great Stag Hunt’ survey to discover where endangered stag beetles are living and where they most need help

Volunteers across Britain are being asked to record sightings of spectacular stag beetles (or their larvae) this summer as part of wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ (PTES) annual ‘Great Stag Hunt’ (

Stag beetles were once widespread but due to habitat loss they’re now declining and have even become extinct in some parts of Britain and Western Europe. To prevent that from further happening PTES is calling for nature lovers, families, and individuals to help this summer by recording all sightings of male and female stag beetles, and their larvae (large, white grubs), online at

L-R: A male stag beetle (L) next to the smaller female (R), and a map showing records from the Great Stag Hunt 2022. Credit Ross Bower (L) and People’s Trust for Endangered Species (R). [High-res image available]

Stag beetles are easy to spot – they’re the UK’s largest land beetles and the males are instantly recognisable with their antler like jaws. From late May into July these iconic insects emerge from the ground in search of mates, and are usually spotted flying around gardens, parks and allotments on warm summer evenings. They can also be seen on walls and warm tarmac surfaces in urban areas, and in other green spaces too such as woodland edges, hedgerows and traditional orchards.

Laura Bower, Conservation Officer at PTES says: “Last year almost 10,000 sightings were recorded by thousands of volunteers, giving us a real insight into where their range is, which is crucial for the species’ long-term survival. More help is always needed though, so whether you’re out in the garden, dog walking in a local park, on the school run or even walking to the pub, keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful beetles and tell us about any you see. You don’t need to be a beetle expert or have taken part before, as PTES has a free ‘beetle ID’ guide to help anyone new to the survey to help them tell the differences between stag beetles and other insects.”

Last year 9,334 stag beetle sightings were recorded via PTES’ Great Stag Hunt, with the highest numbers spotted in Hampshire (2,115 sightings), Greater London (1,781), Surrey (1,277), Berkshire (876) and Dorset (754). PTES is keen to hear from people in these areas this year, as well as other parts of Britain, and in particular, in counties on the edge of their range too, including Norfolk, Cheshire, Bedfordshire, Somerset, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Shropshire.

Stag beetles usually prefer warm areas with lower annual rainfall and light soils, and as a result are widespread in southern England (excluding the North and South Downs, where the soil is chalky). There are also hotspots in the Severn Valley and in coastal parts of the southwest, but last year PTES received its first ever record of a stag beetle in the Lake District.

Laura adds: “This record from a woodland in Cumbria was really surprising, as we weren’t previously aware that stag beetles were in this part of the country. We now really need anyone in the Keswick area where this stag beetle was spotted to find out if that beetle is part of a wider population or if it was somehow transported there by accident.”

There are other ways to help stag beetles too. Those who regularly see stag beetles can join an additional ‘Stag Beetle Count’ survey which enables PTES to understand how population numbers might be changing year on year. This extra survey only requires volunteers to walk along a local transect looking for stag beetles for 30 minutes, six times over June or July, on warm sunny days.

Volunteer Gemma Alford, who took part in this extra survey last year, said: “I’ve enjoyed getting out looking for stag beetles during my transect walks, often accompanied by one of my children or my husband. It’s always exciting to spot a stag beetle and we’ve had other magical moments too, including observing noctule bats hunting around trees.”

Another great way to help stag beetles is to build a log pile or pyramid in your own garden. Simply keep any logs, tree stumps, fallen branches or old firewood and bury them upright in soil. This provides a vital food source for larvae (who feed on deadwood) as well as offering shelter and a place for female stag beetles to lay their eggs. Once your log pile is created, you can record its location online to allow PTES to see where these important habitats exist, and to inspire others to create one too.

To take part in the Great Stag Hunt 2023, for top tips on creating the perfect log pile, or to find out more about stag beetles visit:

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

–  ENDS –

For high res images, interview requests or further information, please contact Adela Cragg:

T: 07532 685 614


Notes to Editors

Regional breakdown of stag beetle sightings

CountyNumber of stag beetles recorded [2022]
Greater London1781
West Sussex530
Isle of Wight16
East Sussex12

Available for interview

  • Laura Bower, Conservation Officer, PTES
  • Jill Nelson, CEO, PTES

About PTES

  • PTES, a UK conservation charity created in 1977, is ensuring a future for endangered species throughout the world. We protect some of our most threatened wildlife species and habitats, and provide practical conservation support through research, grant-aid, educational programmes, wildlife surveys, publications and public events.
  • PTES’ current priority species and habitats include hazel dormice, hedgehogs, water voles, noble chafers, stag beetles, traditional orchards, native woodlands, wood pasture and parkland and hedgerows.
  • PTES has Species Champions for three of its priority species: for hedgehogs The Rt Hon Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom & Ewell, for water voles The Rt Hon Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central and for dormice The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk.
  • Visit and follow PTES on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & LinkedIn.

Let's keep in touch...

We'd love to tell you about our conservation work through our regular newsletter Wildlife World, and also how you can save endangered species through volunteering, taking action or donating. You must be 18 or over. The information that you provide will be held by People’s Trust for Endangered Species. For information on how PTES processes personal data, please see our privacy policy.

People's Trust For Endangered Species

People's Trust for Endangered Species, 3 Cloisters House, 8 Battersea Park Road, London SW8 4BG

Registered Charity Number: 274206 • Site Design: Mike Leach Creative at Waters • Branding: Be Colourful

Copyright PTES 2023

- Enter Your Location -
- or -