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Can Isopods Be Pets?

Isopods – are also known as pill bugs, rolly pollies, and woodlouse. A pest to some, and a marvel to others. Whether you know a lot about them or not, you have likely heard of them being kept as pets. Because of this, you likely have questions on what these wonderful little oddities really are, and why some want them as pets in the first place. To start, let’s address the question: 

What are Isopods

Isopods are a primitive, detritivore crustacean that originated from the ocean’s depths. While there are still some varieties of this critter that happily remains on the ocean floor, many have adapted to live on land. The majority of these terrestrial isopods remain fairly small, rarely growing above an inch. 

Difficulty of Isopod Care

If you’re looking for a pet that requires a lot of involved care and attention, the isopod isn’t for you. They are often considered to be one of the easiest to care for animals available for purchase. With a simple plastic bin to live in, the appropriate level of humidity, and plenty of leaf litter to munch on with a supplemented diet, your isopods will remain healthy and happy. 

Why People Keep Isopods

By now, it’s easy to see that isopods are fairly unorthodox pets. As someone not in the hobby, it may even be lost on you as to why – aside from a pretty face – anyone would want one of these critters in their homes. So, let’s look a bit deeper into why people seek out isopods, including: 

Part of a Pet’s Vivarium

Isopods are excellent at removing pests and wastes from your pet’s enclosure while being a nutritious and enriching snack themselves. 

As Gardeners

Isopods are known to be excellent for compost. They gladly turn old food wastes into nutrient-rich soil, and are excellent at aerating your garden. 

To Breed Cool and Unique Lines

In recent decades, isopod breeders have devoted a lot of time and resources to refining the genetics of their isopods. This produces flashy, unique varieties of isopod that you won’t find in the wild, and typically cost a pretty penny. 

Where to Find Isopods

Where you eventually source your isopods will – in some part – be determined by what you want them for. If you’re simply looking for a nice snake that your larger pets can enjoy, you can likely find quality isopods for sale at your local pet store. If you are looking for a crustacean that you can show off and enjoy as a pet, however, you may need to hunt for a small breeder or pet store online. You will likely be able to find quality breeders by communication with other people in the hobby. Isopod or reptile specific forums and websites may be good places to start. 

Wrapping Up

Isopods make for hardy, unintrusive, unique pets that can thrive in many different conditions. If you’re considering purchasing some isopods but are still on the fence on what to do with them, we say go for it. You never know what dabbling in a new hobby can lead to.