Roly Poly Pets – A Beginner Guide

Roly Poly Pets

The humble isopod – also known as roly poly, pillbug, and sowbug – are a large group of crustaceans that have found a major niche in the pet keeping community. Once exclusively marine dwelling, these not-so-creepy crawlies have made it into a variety of biomes on land. This includes our homes. Whether you’ve heard of the benefits that roly pollies can bring to your pets and vivariums or simply want your hand at raising a colony, these crustaceans make an excellent beginner pet once you know how to care for them. Here are a few of the basics to get you familiar with what these guys need.

Caring for Your Isopod

If you’re trying to avoid high maintenance, expensive pets, you’re in luck. Isopods are just about the easiest animal to care for. With that being said, low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. There are indeed some husbandry best practices that you’ll want to keep in mind. Especially when trying to keep a healthy, growing colony.


These crustaceans didn’t spread through all sorts of ecosystems and biomes by being picky about their housing. All that most isopods will need from you is a properly sized plastic container with air holes kept in a dark, temperate room.


As detritivores, these crustaceans can eat pretty much anything. They thrive on kitchen leftovers and animal wastes. However, there are still a few things to keep in mind when maintaining their food supply.

Do: Provide your isopods with constant access to leaf litter.

Don’t: Feed your isopods random leaves from outside. You don’t want them eating material that’s contaminated with pesticides and pests.

Do: Provide them with a regular source of calcium. This is important for their general health and shell development.

Don’t: Leave too much food in their enclosure. Uneaten food may rot and produce mold.    

Types of Isopods

Different isopods are kept for varying reasons. Some people prefer to exclusively have them as a part of another pet’s care. Others will simply want them as a helping hand in their compost bin, or simply as pets that they can observe and breed.

Some more common varieties of isopod that are primarily used as a snack or cleanup crew for another animal include:

  • Powder Blue/Orange Isopod
  • Dairy Cow Isopod
  • Spanish Orange Isopods  

More expensive, specially bred isopods that are seen more as investments are:

  • Panda King Isopod
  • Shiro Utsuri Isopods
  • Rubber Ducky Isopods

Typically, the rarer, flashy, more expensive varieties of isopod for sale will be more difficult to breed and keep. If you want to proliferate a colony of these unique critters, it would be advisable to start off with an easier to keep variety. After all, it’s worth knowing what you’re getting into before making a large investment in these animals.

Wrapping Up

Isopods of all varieties can make a wonderful, low-maintenance pet for a variety of pet keepers. No matter your experience or skill level, these crustaceans can make for a wonderful, successful addition to your home. When seeking out isopods for sale, simply make sure that they come from a reputable source, and you have the resources needed for them to thrive.

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