So as many of you may know, as well as having my dog and guinea-pig , I am the proud owner of a pet beetle. But it is most certainly not your average beetle. The Churchyard Beetle (Blaps mucronata), named Ben has been with me for almost a decade. 10 years!!! I cannot believe it really, and I am pretty sure he has a good chance of being a world record holder. I thought I would take this time to tell you a little more about him.
        When I was younger, Insects were very much at the forefront of my interests. I was a member of a wildlife group, and I spent lots of the time capturing insects, and spent countless hours catching butterflies from the Buddelia with my net. But beetles were always my favourite. My dad told me that his old Biology teacher from school, David Nash, had done much study and research into beetles, and since they had become good friends my dad asked if it would be possible to send a live specimen.
       Ben arrived in a small plastic food container, with a small piece of kitchen roll and a slice of cucumber. It was also accompanied by a letter from David himself, with information regarding how to care for my new pet and some interesting info and articles on similar species. Also included was this article (there is also a photograph for those who are unaware of how they look). Ben's current habitat is not quite the luxury he was first introduced to, rather more artificial, but maybe to celebrate 10 years I will treat him to a bit of a nicer abode after Christmas.
       Ten years later and after three school visits, Ben is just as active as ever! Last year David wrote this report in 'White Admiral', the newsletter of Suffolk Naturalists' Society (page 24) on Ben's progress, (with two horrific photos). I will make sure I keep you all posted on how he's doing, and try and upload some photos. Here's to another ten years!

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