Isopod Care

What is an isopod?

Isopods are terrestrial crustaceans. Isopods also known as Woodlice, Roly-Polys, Sow Bugs, and Pill Bugs. Some species can roll into a perfect defensive ball. Many species in the hobby kept as isopod pets. From tiny isopods, all the way to a giant isopod pet! New species of isopods from all over the world, are being discovered every year.

How do i keep isopod pets?

The most common way to keep isopods is inside a plastic container with a locking lid. Kept on substrate that can maintain humidity. With lots of leaf litter, rotting wood, or cork bark. Isopods can’t climb clean plastic so its the first choice for most collectors to keep them inside small plastic containers. We keep isopods substrate damp on one side, with the other side kept dry. This allows the isopods to determine the micro climate they prefer.

How do i care for isopods?

Isopod care is very easy, inexpensive, and has very minimal care requirements. The most common way isopod pets are kept is in an air tight plastic container with a locking lid. Sized appropriately for the amount of isopods you’re looking to keep. You’ll then need a nice healthy substrate that you’ll want about 2”-6″ inches thick inside the plastic container or reptile habitat. Depending on specific species requirements, some dwelling species prefer deeper substrate for burrowing, compared to surface active species.

We recommend the use of an “ABG mix”. Isopoda pets will need a place to hide, so make sure to have plenty of rotting wood and leaf litter. Cork bark works best as a substitute for rotting wood, which they will also eat over time.

You will then need to dedicate about 1/3 of the container or enclosure to what we call the “Damp side”. You’ll need to keep damp, but not wet, live sphagnum moss (other live moss also works, we just prefer to use sphagnum moss) there so the isopods can molt properly. This is where the mancae and gravid females will spend their first few weeks of birth. The other 2/3 or the enclosure stays dry (this is the most common setup protocol). It is crucial to their survival that you maintain humid environments in order for them to thrive.

Every species of isopods have different humidity requirements so do your research on the particular species you’re intending to keep as an Isopoda pet! Make sure your moss stays damp, if the moss drys out it can be fatal to the isopod pets. We spray isopod enclosures every 4-5 days. You will need to also make sure that you are not over-spraying the environment because too much humidity can be just as troublesome. You’ll need to let it air out in this case. You want the substrate on the “Damp Side” to be damp, but not wet.

We recommend opening the isopod enclosure to let in fresh oxygen every 4-5 days. You can add your own holes for additional ventilation. We highly recommended adding holes for ventilation if you intend to keep them inside plastic containers.

Do isopods bite?

Isopods cannot harm you in any way. You can confidently purchase isopods for sale knowing they are harmless to humans. Isopods can chew on amphibians and soft bodied reptiles.

What do isopods eat?

Terrestrial isopods are omnivores, scavengers, and herbivores. They love to eat decaying plant matter, vegetables, live plants, rotting wood, and fungus. Some species prefer protein sources when readily available. Isopod pets should always have an unlimited source of leaf litter, rotting wood, and a calcium source. We feed all our isopod pets a bi-weekly source of vegetables and Red River Shrimp. We use both cuttle bone and calcium powder during feedings. All isopod pets have constant source of leaf litter. We replace leaf litter weekly.

How do I breed isopods?

Breeding isopods can be easy for a lot of species, and difficult for others. If the husbandry is accurate for the specific species you’re intending to breed, they will do the work for you as long as they are of age. Breeding isopods is easy if all the appropriate species specific conditions have been met. Do your research on all the species you are intending to acquire, prior to purchasing. If you have any questions regarding any specific species, feel free to contact us at any time.

How do isopods locate appropriate environments?

We recommend in all isopod setups to keep one side with damp moss, to help with humidity. With the other side left dry. This allows for the isopods to choose which side of the damp or dry environment they wish to be. If the isopods are mainly staying to the damp side, for example, that could be a sign they are not getting enough humidity, and should either add more damp moss or spray more frequently. If the isopod pets are mainly staying on the dry side, that could be a sign that it is too humid and should let the environment dry out.


  1. Reply

    Hello everyone,
    I really enjoy your work and your blog is very interesting.
    I have to appreciate your job andefforts.. It is extraordinary.

    King regards,
    Balle Henneberg

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