Isopods are called many things like roly poly and pill bugs. They are a pet reptile keepers dream as they are commonly referred to as a "clean-up crew". Which pretty much means they are your reptiles janitors, cleaning up leaf litter, wood, slime mold, fungus, left over food, and even animal waste. Mixing Isopods with a Bio Active set up will keep a healthy environment for your pet reptile.
What is an Isopod?
Isopods are crustaceans and can be land dwelling and/or aquatic. The Isopods that have adapted to living on land have gills that require for them to be kept moist. Those isopods can drown if submerged which is why they live under rocks and logs in humid places. Isopods have two pairs of antennae, eyes, and four sets of jaws. Their pereon (body) consists of segments with their own pair of legs. Their abdomen if vulnerable and can dry out if not kept properly.
Isopods hatch from eggs and molt their skin as they grow just like your pet reptile! Breeding females have appendages under their bodies called a marsupium which is where they hold their eggs. Isopods are not pests as they harmless and when scared they roll into a ball which is why some call them roly pollies.
What do Isopods eat?
Isopods primarily consume plant matter that is either decaying or is already dead and decomposed. As stated above they will also eat your pet reptiles left over food and feces which means less cleaning for you! You may also feed isopods vegetables like potato and carrot. It is good to provide them with a variety of these vegetables, fruits, and prepared diets specifically formulated for detritivores, and a source of calcium in their diet. Some breeders feed them same dried shrimp that you can feed turtles!
Reproduction of Isopods
These days there are many isopod distributers, breeders, and retailers as most species of isopods are readily and easily bred. This means if they are kept in an ideal environment they will breed and thrive for you! Don't worry, they wont over populate. Many insect feeding reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids will help maintain your isopod population because they also work as a meal or snack!
Which isopod culture should you get? It is important for you to choose an isopod species that is compatible with your pet. More and more species of isopods are found every day so there are a variety of colors, patterns, and body types to pick from!