Beetles live in nearly every terrestrial and freshwater habitat on the Earth, but they are not found in the ocean, on polar ice caps, or on some of the tallest mountain peaks. They live everywhere, from coastal sand dunes to wind-swept rocky fields at 10,000 feet (3,050 meters) above sea level. Most species are found in humid tropical forests. Others inhabit cold mountain streams, parched deserts, standing and flowing freshwater habitats, or deep, dark caverns. They hide under stones and bark, or burrow through the soil and wood. They live in fungus, roots, trunks, branches, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Some beetles spend most of their lives in rotting plants and on dead animals. Beetles are also found in the nests of birds, reptiles, mammals, and social insects. They also live in spaces between sand grains at the seashore, adjacent dunes, and along watercourses. A few species are parasites on the bodies of beavers and other rodents.

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