Isopod Care In Captivity
Okay so since not many people know how to keep and raise isopods these days i thought i'd make a caresheet so that anyone who wants to keep these fasinating critters could have a guid to work from.There will be diffrent sections such as:Food/Nutrition,Enclosure Types,Building the Perfect Isopodterrrium and more.
Before one keeps isopods its a good idea to know what they do and their needs.First off these Sowbugs aren't bugs at all and are related to land crabs and crustaceans.The word Isopod litteral means same foot.This is because isopods have seven pairs of legs,Giving them a grand total of fourteen legs.Isopods are commonly found near homes usually under rocks and logs.These isopods are known as sowbugs.There are other isopods but this is the one we will be talking about.Sowbugs do not breath through lungs but modified gills.This is a really important part of their biology.This makes us know that they need great humidity and water.Without water they die and without humidity they have proplems shedding their exoskeloton.The exoskeleton is shed in two parts.This is to prevent predotors from eating the isopods.Isopods reproduce mostly at night.After mating the female stores the eggs in a pouch which is visable after 2-3 weeks.Then in another 2 weeks babies emerge.The babies are white and need more humidity.They eat the same as the adults.
The enclosure must meet three requirements:Must be big enough,Must be water proof and must have a lid.If the enclosure is too small the isopods may eat eachother.If it's too big however you'll never find them.Water proof is easy to explain as they need water and humidity to survive.A lid helps keep in the isopods,humidity and also keeps bad bugs and other critters out.Now that you know the enclosure requirements time to move onto the next step.
Food for isopods is relitivly easy to achieve but you need the right nutrition or they wont be strong enough to breed and you want strong healthy pets right?Vitimines can be provided but they do need other things such as moisture content and other things.As a staple diet i found this works:
You can mix it and grind it all up or feed them sepratly.My colony is fed upon carrots and the ocasional piece of leaf.Now as for water:
I usually give them something such as a moist cotton ball but now i found out cricket quencher works better.
Building The Perfect Isopodterrium:
If your using a glass jar just throw in dirt usually no less then 2-3cm.The add some bark and food.Dont forget the water!
Now for kritter keepers do the same thing only add some leaves or sticks.Then a rock or egg carton.For tanks just add the same ammount of dirt and more tubes or egg carton pieces.Then add food.Its as simple as that.....Wrong forgot to add lots of water until the soil is damp but not muddy.Wait for a day or so then get your isopods.
This is fun!All you have to do is look under rocks and find some anywhere from 6-25 will do as a starter colony.I started mine from six.
Once you have isopods add them to your Isopodterrium.
Once a week replace old food then wait a day until you add more.Once or three times a day moisten the setup.Once a month do a colony count and see if the colony is reproducing if it is don't change anything.If its slowing down add more humidity to your isopodterrium.Once a year clean out the isopodterrium.Catch all the isopods you can and then carefully dump the dirt into a diffrent bin and then allow the dirt to dry and add a moist cucumber and catch the rest that way.Most important is to have fun if it doesn't work learn from your mistakes and grow more!In about 3-4 months you can go from 10 to 130+!