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Isopods for torts

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by tortoiseplanet, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    Was wondering if isopods were good for torts? There was one running on my enclosure wall the other day and one of my females ran after it and ate it. Should they be fed, maybe as a supplement? I was thinking their shell is a good source of calcium.
  2. WithLisa

    WithLisa Well-Known Member

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    All tortoises love them, they are a source of protein, not calcium (the shell consists of chitin!). A few bugs and slugs every now and then won't be harmful but I wouldn't feed them deliberately.
    tortoiseplanet and Alex Z like this.
  3. trickspiration

    trickspiration Active Member

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    Mine ate a dead roly poly once. He seemed fine afterwards. I don't think they should be eating animal protein as part of their regular diet, but they do sometimes find the weirdest things to eat.
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  4. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    Not really sure what chitin is, is it beneficial to torts?
  5. WithLisa

    WithLisa Well-Known Member

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    Chitin is similar to cellulose. They probably can't digest it at all.
  6. Beasty_Artemis

    Beasty_Artemis Active Member

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    I like to go collect a good hand full of the little guys and add them to my tortoise table every once in a while if i add new substrate. Never have any problems with gross smells or dead bug remains. And i only ever occasionally spot one under her dish. Now that I'm trying, i can't remember ever successfully getting her to try and eat one on front of me.
  7. trickspiration

    trickspiration Active Member

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    My tort is a scaredy cat. He will see an ant or roly poly walking near him when he's outside, and quickly run away from it :rolleyes:
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  8. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline Active Member

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    I keep woodlice in my tort enclosures... and my frog enclosures... and with some of my scorpions... they keep things clean. I feed my frogs and toads (the smaller ones) with tropical woodlice or cuban woodlice. When you breed your own, they are harmless as food, but wild caught might contain some heavy metals.
  9. tortoiseplanet

    tortoiseplanet Active Member

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    How do you breed isopods?
  10. Reptilian Feline

    Reptilian Feline Active Member

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    How to breed isopods and millipedes:

    Get a plastic container with a lid, and make a few holes in the lid with a soldering iron. The holes should be small and not too many. It's easier to add more holes later if needed.
    Go out and find a small forrest or park where you can pick decomposing leaves and bark and wood. Oak leaves are very nice but birch and so on works as well. The wood should be "white" wood, that is falling appart and almost weightless. Moss found in grass is also nice. Make sure there are no pesticides.
    Put the leaves, bark, wood and moss in the freezer for at least 24 hours.
    Put some coco coir in the bottom of the plastic container. The isopods like to dig tunnels. The coco needs to be damp.
    Add some leaves, bark, wood and moss to the container.
    Add isopods. You can buy some or collect in the wild.
    Feed your isopods with some fish food. They will also eat the leaves, wood and moss. The bark will take longer to eat, but they will hide under it.
    To seed your enclosures with isopods, simply pick up a piece of bark with isopods sitting under it and tap over the enclosure until they let go and fall down to your enclosure. If you feed frogs with them, simply put the piece down for the frogs to eat from, then remove it and put it back with the isopods.

    I prefer woodlice to rolypolys. They breed better and are not so hard to eat for those who eat them. They also dig better tunnels. I prefer to transfer them using the bark, rather that digging up a portion of their tunnels.

    They usually starts running around when I mist their box, so it's easier to see how many you have.
    tortoiseplanet and TammyJ like this.
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