Isopods (also known as pill bugs) are common insects that make their homes in a variety of biomes and ecosystems. They are a common pet for a variety of pet-fanciers, and for good reason. However, there are a few things that a newcomer should know before getting into the isopod-keeping hobby. Specifically, you should know about the regulations surrounding isopods for sale, and why they may benefit you in the first place.
The Law Regarding Isopods for Sale
To get the burning question out of the way, yes, you can absolutely keep isopods in the USA. However, due to the recent popularity of keeping these insects as pets, the sale of isopods has become somewhat more regulated by the USDA. While you don’t need any permit to simply keep isopods, you will need a PPQ 526 form to sell. You will also need a permit to acquire isopods from out of state. However, you will not need this to purchase any isopods within your own state.
Isopods are primarily detritivores. This means that they have a varied diet of decaying matter from plants and animals. They are nature’s garbagemen and are an essential part of the various ecosystems they reside in.
Before getting into all the ways isopods make an excellent addition to the home, let’s review the concept of bioactive enclosures. These are simply habitats where various biological processes take care of themselves, requiring less work from the keeper in terms of cleaning and maintenance, and providing the animals with an enriching, healthy habitat.
In recent years, the popularity of these vivariums has exploded for a variety of reptile, insect, and small mammal pet owners. This is because isopods provide an enriching meal for animals that like to forage, consume waste matter, and take care of harmful small pests such as mites.
However, they are not just useful for people with exotic pet enclosures. Isopods are also excellent at making fertile compost for your plants and breaking down any food waste you may have. In other words, isopods make for both a unique pet and an amazing helper for your pets and garden.
Isopods are Just Cool
In addition to their helpful role in your home, isopods simply make for low-maintenance, cool-looking, unique pets. There are over 10,000 species under the order Isopoda in the world, and all of them have various sizes, coloring, and attributes.
There are even different isopods that are better or worse for your enclosure depending on its needs. For instance, if you are setting up a semi-arid enclosure, dairy cow isopods would be preferable. If you are putting together a more tropical environment and want an isopod with a softer shell (perhaps for a frog), dwarf tropical whites are a great choice.
Final Thoughts on Isopods as Pets
While isopods may have some recent restrictions implemented on their sale and trade, they are well worth the effort to add to your setups. They make for spectacularly low-maintenance pets and are an excellent choice for any responsible pet owner looking to improve their setups.
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