Shiny new fighting beetles, a puppy, and a doting grandpa - does life get better than that?
We met this photogenic little guy while visiting a rubber plantation outside of Khon Khaen, Thailand. Our Thai university-prof friends had bought the farm as an investment, and the boy's family lived on site and ran the day-to-day operations.
Perhaps he sensed that I thought watching sheets of rubber dry in the sun was about as interesting as watching sheets of rubber drying in the sun, and he rushed over to show me his brand new Rhinoceros beetles. This was back in 2006 when I was still an Asia newbie and was my first time seeing these monsters up close
Despite their scary exoskeletons, the beetles are completely harmless. All that armor is just to impress the ladies and a male beetle will instinctively fight another male and try to flip it over. The beetles are popular pets in northern Thailand and people gamble on the outcome of beetle fights! Both beetles come out of the fight unharmed and the owner of the winning beetle a few baht richer.