Well, OK, so it was just a Rhinoceros Beetle, but I could scarcely have been more startled. This one is a large example of the species at 5 cm (about 2 inches) in length. I swept him off the driveway, out of Momo's reach (she likes to "play" with insects), and he climbed up on a piece of wood where I took this picture:
Beetles are popular pets for Japanese kids. They are easy to catch in the wild and just require a small amount of fruit or veggies to munch on for food. They live for two or three months. In the cities they are sold in department stores along with plastic cages. The Rhino beetles are common and sell for around US$7.00, but the two horned stag beetle, called o-kuwagata here, are more difficult to find and can bring prices of US$400 to over $1000. Plastic models of beetles and other insects are also a common sight in Japanese toy departments.
As you can see, the long horn - which only males have - is forked at the end.
Some people may find beetles cute and want them for pets, but I'm happy to leave them outside, thank you very much.
Great name for a rock band with a big brass section though -
The Horned Beatles
- don't you think?