Isopods (also known as rolly pollies or pill bugs) are an ancient crustacean that have been an essential part of a variety of ecosystems for a millennia. With over 10,000 species roaming around the world, it is little surprise that humans have found a use for these critters in their own home.
However, the question remains on whether you can truly keep these guys as pets. Are we able to take proper care of them and sustain healthy colonies? Are they even legal? Let’s explore these questions and more.
While it is not illegal anywhere in the US to keep isopods, they are still regulated by the department of agriculture. To distribute or sell isopods throughout the country, you will need a PPQ-526. Remember, releasing invasive isopods into any area can cause damage to the local ecosystem. If enough of these bugs should be carelessly released, there may be additional restrictions and regulations put on keeping and selling them.
As far as actual care of pets is concerned, you can’t get much more low-maintenance than pill bugs. If you keep them in an appropriately sized, tight-lidded container, provide them with enough leaf litter, and regularly mist their enclosure, they will thrive.
Tips for keeping your colony healthy:
- Purchase around thirty to start proliferating a healthy colony.
- Don’t leave too much food in their enclosure. This can invite mold and bacteria.
- Keep the enclosure in a relatively dark room.
- Make sure that their container has plenty of ventilation.
- Be sure to provide the appropriate amount of humidity and moisture for their species.
Why People Keep Isopods as Pets
Feeding Other Pets
One of the most common reasons people seek out isopods for sale is to have a regular food source for other pets. These bugs contain a variety of vital nutrients such as calcium and proteins, and are excellent enrichment for a variety of reptiles, arthropods, and small mammals.
Bioactive vivariums -simply- are enclosures for pets that are completely self-sustaining. A “cleanup crew” made of various microfauna such as isopods and millipedes consume animal wastes and keep away pests such as mites. As the benefits of bioactive setups become better known, the demand for pill bugs increases.
In addition to all their practical uses for various other pets, rolly pollies have their uses in the garden. They help aerate the soil, consume dead leaf matter, and their shells/wastes make nutritious compost.
Isopods for Sale as Regular Companion Animals
While pill bugs are not the first thing to come to mind with the term “companion animals”, people do certainly seek them out for that purpose. They are unique, easy to care for animals with a variety of cool looking species that many love to collect, breed, and sell.
Regardless of what you need isopods for, they are near guaranteed to be a necessary part of your home. While there are many flavors of isopod to collect and use, it should not be difficult to find one that is optimal for you.