Isopods, otherwise known as woodlice, can be an excellent addition to any collection. With an endless variety of species and ease of care, they can certainly make an attractive pet.
Isopods can also be a great way to keep other reptile enclosures clean. In this article, we talk more about Isopods.
What Are Isopods?
Isopods are an invertebrate that belongs to the crustacean group of animals, which includes other animals like crabs and shrimp. There are approximately 10,000 species of isopods, all belonging to the order ‘Isopoda’. They all have similar features with two pairs of antennae, compound eyes, and four sets of jaws.
In addition, their body has seven segments, each containing a pair of legs, used for walking.
About 50% of all known species are ocean-dwelling, but many only know the land-dwelling individuals.
How Are Isopods Used in Reptile-Keeping
Isopods have become a key part of reptile keepers looking to create a bio-active enclosure. Isopods can go around the enclosure and eat waste materials. They can eat a variety of waste materials from droppings to plant matter. They’re also good at cleaning up early signs of mould.
Isopods are also an excellent food source for insectivores like leopard geckos and crested geckos. While they shouldn’t be the only live food item offered, isopods are high in nutrients and calcium.
Is Keeping Isopods Challenging?
Isopods are not particularly challenging to keep. As long as heat and humidity levels are at the correct levels, with plenty of food, they will thrive. A small group of isopods in a small enclosure can become a large colony in a few months.
Our Giant Orange Isopods doubled in size within three months.
While they can be self-sufficient in an enclosure with live plants and other inhabitants, you might want to place lettuce, tortoise food, and other vegetables inside the enclosure to give them a varied diet.
Can Isopods Live With Insectivores?
One of the most common uses of isopods is as a clean-up crew alongside other animals such as worms, springtails, and mealworms. Some are concerned that this puts the isopods at risk. These clean up after other inhabitants such as geckos, bearded dragons, or snakes.
While some species might predate on the isopods (namely Leopard Geckos, Crested Geckos, etc), a significantly large colony will thrive, and losses will be minimal. However, you might want to add more into the enclosure every six to twelve months to help with genetic diversity and boost a colony.
But many keep pet isopods, keeping them inside small terrariums with no other inhabitants.
Final Word: Are Isopods Good for an Enclosure?
Isopods can be a great addition to any enclosure or as a first pet. They’re fantastic as part of a clean-up crew, are nutritionally valuable, and look great in an enclosure. The group of animals is also easy to keep and is readily available online or in many stores.