Monkey Abroad

Videos and stories of the life abroad – food, culture, travel & work

Hercules Beetle

Photo Essay – Hercules Beetles Battling


Hercules beetles are strange, intimidating insects. Holding a string that acts as a leash around the beetle’s top horn, Thai children send their prized pet beetles to battle. On a bored Saturday night, I documented a clash of these ferocious titans.

Hercules Beetle Statue

A massive statue of the beetle rests next to my town‘s entrance here in the mountainous region of northern Thailand. This weird bug is apparently a prominent symbol of the community. I’ve lived here for almost four months and I’ve yet to encounter one of these colossal bugs. Until now.

Hercules Beetle

A young girl stares at her pet beetle. Thais have a much simpler name for this insect: guang.

Hercules Beetle

Tied securely to a strip of sugar cane, her pet feasts on sweet sugar before preparing for battle.

Hercules Beetle

Two Thai children prepare their beetles to duel.

Hercules Beetle

Two strips of sugar cane are placed side-by-side, each with a ferocious beetle tied to it. The stage is set for these titans to clash!

Hercules Beetle

This child provokes his beetle by tugging on the string. When agitated, the hercules beetle makes an eerie hissing sound to ward off foes.

Hercules Beetle

The beetles knock their horns together. You can’t actually hear the faint clash, but if you were the size of an ant, I bet it would sound like two dump trucks colliding.

Hercules Beetle

The epic battle continues for a few minutes as the beetles struggle to protect their sugar cane homes.

Hercules Beetle

After a fierce duel, this boy’s beetle is victorious.

Hercules Beetle

Victory lap on my arm! To the victor go the spoils.

The hercules beetle is actually a very friendly insect that’s hardly fierce. I just tried to portray this slow-moving battle as a “clash of the titans” to make this insect appear a little more interesting. No beetles were hurt during the battle.

Author: Kevin Cook

I want to inspire you to pursue your own dream of traveling and/or living overseas!


  1. Enjoyed that battle commentary kev man. Miss ya bud, looks like your doing well!

  2. You did a wonderful job, and a wonderful snippet on Thai life.

Let me know what you think


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