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What Do Roly Polies Eat?

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What is a Roly Poly? Well, technically speaking, it is a small crustacean, one of the few that have actually made their habitat on land. Although known by many different names such as “pill bug”, “armadillo bug”, “doodlebug”, “potato bug” and “rollie pollies”, its actual name is “woodlouse”.

Roly PoliesRoly polies are known to roll into a ball or “pill” when disturbed.

Small little bugs

If you can remember back when you were a child, and you may have gone out to the garden to help prepare the soil for planting, you might have noticed those small little bugs which had the capability of rolling themselves up into a small ball, and had a hard shell. That, my friends is a roly poly.

Basically, these are pretty benign creatures

They don’t really cause any problems for anybody, on the contrary, they actually help to fertilize the soil that we use for our everyday garden plants and vegetables. On a larger scale, they are used at large farms and plantations to increase the cultivation yield of crops we eat. So these little guys are generally our friends.

What they eat?

It may be hard to observe the lives of these creatures in natural surroundings, since most of the time if you try to touch one or disturb one it usually balls up. But actually they do eat, they are particularly fond of decomposing matter, which doesn’t exactly sound enticing, but to a roly poly, this is perhaps their way of eating a four course dinner.

Decomposing matter

By decomposing matter, I am referring to decomposing plant leaves or other dead leafy material that they find while roaming around on the ground. You can also feed them fresh fruit as long as no citrus is included to their diet as apparently citrus is not something that they like.

Who preys on roly polies?

Though roly polies are cute and adorable, they do have natural enemies. The woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata) feeds exclusively on roly polies. They are also known as “roly poly killer” or “woodlouse hunter”.

Keeping roly polies as pets

If you want to watch their behavior in closer and more familiar surroundings, it’s possible for you to build your own roly poly terrarium. All you need is a few components and it’s pretty easy to make. To make a roly poly terrarium, find an empty fish tank, it doesn’t need to be that big but make sure there’s a secure lid and find some almost dead plants that are a little moist. Next you can put in some wood shavings, sawdust or just plain old dirt and finally put in some roly polies.

Keeps children entertained

The advantage of building your own roly poly terrarium is that it’s quite easy to make, doesn’t cost terribly much and that roly polies live quite a long time without having to be fed constantly. If you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to witness the female roly poly gives birth to their young by laying eggs. Pretty soon you will have a whole population of roly poly eating and having fun in their own little habitat. It’s a good bet that your children will love it, and they will learn something at the same time.

Fun for grownups too

Roly polies are bugs that many children loved to find and play with. This still hasn’t changed. Even adults take interest in them.