Something for the safari seekers amongst us.
Zebra Isopods offer an exciting opportunity to get up close and personal with a herd of stripey wonders.
Albeit, super tiny ones.
Whether you’re looking for a cool new
Read on to find out how to best use and care for this magnificent beast.
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Zebra Isopods Overview
Zebra Isopods are an OG of the
One of the first types of isopod to be kept as a pet and enjoyed for their care and aesthetics, rather than just being a cleanup tool in a terrarium/vivarium.
That being said, they make an excellent terrarium custodian too.
It’s okay to be effective and fashionable, right? (they’re originally from France after all).
Though they belong to the same family as the common pill bug (Armadillidium maculatum), it’s easy to see why this particular variation stood out to prospective keepers.
With their classic black and white stripes, they’re going to go well with any
outfit terrarium environment.
Benefits of Zebra Isopods
Zebra Isopods continue to be one of the most popular species on the market, so they must be doing something right.
Here are some of their standout features.
- Easy to care for – Overall, Zebra Isopods are pretty resilient and have very straightforward care requirements. They make a great first
- Aesthetic – What can I say, these stripey wonders are simply gorgeous and there are reportedly Chocolate Zebra Isopods on the way!
- Active – Part of being able to enjoy a stunning
isopodpet is being able to actually see them… Thankfully, Zebra Isopods are very active and not too shy once they’ve settled in.
- Affordable and easily available – One of the perks of being popular, Zebra Isopods are easy to come by and remain one of the cheapest varieties on offer.
- Easy to handle – As one of the slower and larger
isopodvarieties, they’re not too difficult to manage if you’d like to handle one or two at a time.
👉 Convinced? Grab some Zebra Isopods for yourself at Rubber Ducky Isopods.
Zebra Isopods Care
The overall size requirements of the enclosure are somewhat dependent on the size of the colony, but seeing as these isopods are on the larger side – it follows that you’ll need a reasonably sized container too.
They also need plenty of ventilation, so you’ll need to opt for a container with a partial seal or you’ll need to get drilling to make your own vents…
Though they’re not amazing climbers, feel free to cover any vents with a fine mesh to prevent any jailbreaks.
Their mature size, high activity, and need for ventilation mean they’re not a great fit for the smallest of containers (both literally and figuratively). Tiny Tupperware boxes or planted bottle terrariums just aren’t going to do the trick with these larger critters.
However, if you’re using these as a cleanup crew in a full-sized vivarium/terrarium, you should have no issues on that front. They’ll definitely appreciate the extra space.
For substrate, a classic tropical terrarium mix is always a great choice (e.g. ABG mix).
Something with plenty of coco coir and sphagnum moss for moisture retention and a nice loose texture for burrowing, covered with leaf litter for nutrition and hiding spot opportunities.
I like to use earthworm castings in all my substrates, and that can really help as a source of nutrition for both plants and isopods.
Zebra Isopods do appreciate a moisture gradient if possible, meaning a section that’s a bit dryer for them.
Which can be tricky when misting (especially with automated misting systems) but some creatively placed hardscape items should be able to shield a chosen area.
Temperature and Humidity
Zebra Isopods do prefer warmer conditions, but nothing crazy.
Ideally between 75-80°F (21-26°C), so slightly above a typical room temperature.
This should be easily achieved in most vivariums with artificial lighting and/or heat mats. But, if they’re in a smaller container (or it’s a cold Winter) then it’s best to keep them somewhere warm or pop them on a heating mat.
On the humidity front, I think it’s helpful but probably not a dealbreaker.
After all, they need good ventilation and ideally a dry area too, neither of which is conducive to a high humidity.
As part of a bioactive setup, the container should have plenty of decaying organic material in the substrate to drive that nutrient process.
That should form the backbone of the feeding process.
Leaf litter is the easiest and most effective way to provide this, but driftwood branches can help a lot too, e.g. cork bark, cholla wood.
Though you can (and should) supplement where possible. This is much more necessary if kept in smaller isolated containers, where you’ll likely have to feed them several times a week.
- Fish food flakes are an easy and convenient supplement. They’re full of protein, and you can always have some to hand.
- Vegetable cuttings are another good option. Pretty much anything you have leftover from your chopping board should do. Just don’t overdo it, just add a little at a time or the mold growth might outpace your isopods.
isopodfood is arguably the best. The formulations will differ depending on the source, but they’re usually well-optimized for isopodhealth. This Isopod Super-Food Blend is a concentrated source of nutrition that can keep them going for ages.
Unfortunately, Armadillidium maculatum are known to occasionally snack on moss and softer plants, so it’s essential that you give them plenty of other things to feed on.
See my Guide to Isopod Food for more.
How to Breed Zebra Isopods
Zebra Isopods are easy to reproduce overall.
Provided you have a big enough colony that’s happy and healthy, nature should take its course without any outside influence.
Keep a look out for the tiny pale ones!
Where to Find Zebra Isopods for Sale?
Being one of the most popular
Personally, I recommend the team over at Rubber Ducky Isopods.
Along with your Zebra
Securely shipped in a culture start-up system that contains: Organic Sphagnum Moss, RDI House Blend Superfood, and Sprinkled Oak Leaves.
From our partners, Rubber Ducky Isopods. (Shipping included).
Over to You
Do you keep Zebra Isopods and have some care secrets to share?
Let me know in the comments.
Or, for more stripey