Stag beetles are popular children’s pets in Japan, Mandy told BuzzFeed News (Mandy asked her last name not be used for this story).
Mandy first became interested in getting a beetle after she saw them being sold at a festival.
She bought Spike around six months ago, and now also has three other beetles named Sally, Julius, and Cleo.
“Spike sometimes tries to clamp things in his mandibles – like fingers, if I’m not careful!” said Mandy.
“That night, I had just taken a few silly pictures of him holding things like utensils, and tried a marker, too,” she said. “He moved it around on the page, so I took some photos of his ‘work.'”
Mandy said the response was “surreal,” since she’d only expected her friends to see it.
After more than 60,000 retweets, she made her account private and started a new one just for Spike.
“I thought an auction would be fun, because how do you price a drawing by a beetle?” she said. “I had no idea, but so many people wanted art from him.”
She’s also selling “I Like Spike” buttons with a handwritten “thank you notes” from the artist himself.
Mandy said she’ll be donating 15% of auction proceeds to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, which works to preserve the habitat of stag beetles in the UK. The rest will go towards food and supplies for Mandy’s beetles, as well as setting up Spike’s online shop.
“I adore Spike, but taking cute pictures was always just for friends,” she said. “Having this many people love him too is incredibly touching.”
“I often get messages of people who are afraid of bugs, but Spike has helped them start to overcome that fear,” she said. “That means so much to me. Bugs really are cute.”
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