Caring for Roly Polies (Pill Bugs)

43 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 2, 2016

What do I feed my pill bugs and what do they drink?



April 3, 20161 found this helpful

Pillbugs like to eat rotten fruits and dead plants but also eat carrots , apples, and potatoes .

April 8, 20160 found this helpful

Roly pollies eat rotting items and fruits . Basiclly rolly pollies eat foods that have fungi on them and then they drink the water in the rotting wood

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January 1, 2016

I recently got four pill bugs and I know that they are nocturnal, but they have been kinda inactive even though all my lights are out and its night time. They have been sitting on the underside of an orange peel like they were when it was morning and only moved to check out the apple I brought them.


March 17, 20160 found this helpful

I dunno... mabye give them some time. My rolypolys were inactive but then they got livid.

April 8, 20160 found this helpful

Roly Pollies are not always active when you see them sometimes they just sit there . You can also have a habitat that is a place where they like to rest .

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June 16, 2006

I would like to know about keeping a rolly pollie as a pet. I mostly want to know what to feed him. He's in a cage and has a name, I just want to know what to feed them.

Lindsay from Hollister, CA


By sandy (Guest Post)
June 16, 20060 found this helpful

do you mean the little insect?? or is there something else i dont know about.

By (Guest Post)
June 16, 20061 found this helpful

Hi, They eat my vegetable plants, so they must like salad greens. Loretta


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June 16, 20060 found this helpful

I would love to send you some Pill Bugs that keep
coming into my home. Are you keeping them it in an aquariam or? I would think teeny tiny pieces of


bread or just crumbs. Good luck.


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June 17, 20060 found this helpful

Keep the environment like they live in outside--cool, dark, and damp. I'd make sure there was some dirt, some plants, and old food (roly-polys sure like my compost pile) like part of an apple core or lettuce leaves. Remember to keep things damp and/or give a water source. My son used to collect these when he was small.

June 19, 20060 found this helpful

Just an interesting fact--they're not "bugs" at all. They're actually crustaceans--more closely related to a crab than a ladybug!


Here is some information about pill bugs:

Pill Bug/Sow Bug: Order Isopoda
Appearance: Not more than 3/4 inch long; thorax composed of seven hard overlapping plates with seven pairs of legs; only pillbugs are able to roll up into a ball.
Habits: Prefer moist locations; found under objects on damp ground; mostly nocturnal; sometimes found in basements and ground levels of structures.
Diet: Decaying vegetable matter.
Reproduction: Female gives birth to between 24 and 28 young per brood; usually on e to three generations a year; may live as long as two years.
Other Criteria: Pillbugs and related sowbugs are the only crustaceans that have become completely adapted to living their whole life on land.

By Betty Watson (Guest Post)
June 24, 20060 found this helpful

The baby pill bug look like dandrif, but they crawl. And are a yellowish white color.

By Karen (Guest Post)
June 29, 20060 found this helpful

Are they harmful?

June 30, 20060 found this helpful

my sister use to collect them, they never seemed to live very long. I would feed them the veggies you dont want to eat for supper!

By Fred (Guest Post)
March 26, 20080 found this helpful

I love Rolly-pollys!

By sydney (Guest Post)
March 28, 20080 found this helpful

were exactly to pill bugs live outside?

May 14, 20090 found this helpful

They at live plants vegetables leaves, best to get a bottle cap and fill it with water for it to drink from, and also how to tell a male from a female: the female has tiny pouches in her legs to store eggs and males don't. They also like damp areas I have my own pill bug farm and they're doing fine.

November 18, 20091 found this helpful

Guess what if a rollie pollie is blue or purpley it is sick. They are dormant in the winter. and breath through gill like things! *le gasp*!

December 31, 20150 found this helpful

they eat old decomposing plant matter, you might give them old carrot tops or orange peels. You can also give them plant matter from outside, they need a rounded diet of fruit, like apple pieces, old leaves or salad fixings, and other plant matter.


Hope this helped! :)

March 17, 20160 found this helpful

They eat paper, carrots, squash, compost, cardboard, lettuce, and apples. I suggest paper though.

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March 10, 2013

My son's pet rolly polly just had a baby and I don't know what to do. Please help me. I don't want to let them go cuz my son's heart would break.

By Sam from Seattle, WA


March 11, 20130 found this helpful

I love pill bugs! Here are some links to information on their care. Also consider looking up caring for a cricket. It might easier to care for a cricket than a roly poly, and crickets if you get the male ones sing as well.


Here is the info on rolly pollies:

Here is some info on keeping crickets and you can even breed them and sell them to owners of spiders and snakes.

I had a cricket as a pet and they are very interesting. I kept mine in a fish aquarium without the water. I watched as it molted and it was very interesting.

January 17, 20160 found this helpful

thank you for the solution

January 28, 20160 found this helpful

What I was thinking is that you should give it the same stuff as the mama just smaller. or if not let the babies go and get adult ones then say that they grew up really quickly

March 17, 20160 found this helpful

I think, and i'm not sure, that you should keep them away from other big rolly pollys (because i've seen rolly polly fights and they're not pretty) and put A LOT of dirt in they're home. I also think you should feed them the same things you feed the adults.

April 14, 20160 found this helpful

Feed the rolly polly apples,paper and cardboard

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February 27, 2015

How long do they live?

By John


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February 27, 20150 found this helpful

Pill, Sow, Rolly Polly...Bugs live about 2 years in a good environment. Unfortunately for them, other bugs like them. I found an article for keeping them healthy here:


March 17, 20160 found this helpful

How do you know if they have a stinger?

April 9, 20160 found this helpful

Pill Bugs do not have stingers and cannot hurt you.

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July 15, 2008

What do roly-polys eat?


July 15, 20080 found this helpful

They eat the organic matter in rotting logs and potting soil. They need to be kept moist but not wet.


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July 15, 20080 found this helpful

Hello, sorry but what are Roly-Poly's please?

Editor's Note The pill bug (also called the wood louse and the roly-poly bug) is a small, segmented land creature that can roll into a tiny ball for protection.

July 15, 20080 found this helpful

Just as a matter of curiosity; roly-polies are a crustacean, not bugs (even though we still call them bugs!) They are more closely related to shrimp and crabs than bugs! I just thought that was a fun fact when I first learned it!


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July 17, 20080 found this helpful

We call them "sow bugs", although I have no idea why!

March 17, 20160 found this helpful

I would feed them paper, carrots and apples.

March 28, 20160 found this helpful

You can also feed them cardboard and compost.

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April 19, 2012

How can you tell if a rolly polly is a girl?

By Taylor


May 16, 20131 found this helpful

If it is a female, it will have a grayish shell, and will have brown dots on both sides. If it is a male, it will have a pitch black shell (With no brown spots on both sides). Hope this answered your question! :)

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June 13, 2013

What are all the colors of rolly pollies?

By Mary F. from Fort Wayne IN


February 15, 20150 found this helpful

There are 2 main colours. Males are significantly darker, brown, nearly a black colour while the female is grey with brown spots on the sides.

December 3, 20150 found this helpful

I have been hunting them in my yard and I have discovered about six to eight different colors. I also have soft shell ones in many different colors. I also have hard shell ones in different colors. I have also found flat ones that can't roll up in many different colors. I refer to them as flounders.

December 3, 20150 found this helpful

I have been hunting them in my yard and have found soft shell ones in many different colors and hard shell shiny ones in many different colors. Then I've found ones that lay flat that can't roll up I call them flounders that also are many different colors.

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August 27, 2014

How can one tell if a pillbug is happy or content?



Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
August 29, 20140 found this helpful

I am not sure how or why you would need to know this but if it can't be found in google. Chances are no one will be able to help. Sorry.

September 27, 20140 found this helpful

A pillbug needs: Cool temperatures, a place too hide under (a rock, damp cardboard, wood, etc.) and garbage or compost mixed with dirt to eat. If you lift up the cover and the pillbug is usually active, then it's probably happy. Never let it completely dry out (don't flood it, just a little damp).

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June 17, 2014

rollie pollie on white granular surfaceI have three rollie pollies in a 6 and 1/4 inch bug cage. I have no idea how to take care of them, we dug dirt and grass, then some leaves, otherwise, I'm totally clueless!

By Maddy W.


June 7, 20150 found this helpful

If you dug up soil/dirt, make sure you add water to it to make it damp but there's too much water most likely it will drown. Since rolly/Rollie pollies, pill, or sow bugs are decomposers they can eat more then grass like decomposing veggies, plants, sometimes healthy plants, and cardboard. Also add rocks because they like hiding under rocks.

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April 21, 2010

How do roly polys develop over time? How do they get the shells on the outside? Recently my daughter and I found a roly poly that was having babies. The babies came out of the top area and the roly poly used her 2 top legs to push out the babies.

They look like little whitish yellow roly polies the size of a flea that move around with legs. She had about 20 babies and just dropped them off to fend for themselves. What happens next?

By shauna from San Diego, CA


April 22, 20100 found this helpful

Wow, that's a neat thing to see happen! How did you notice it? (I'm betting it was your daughter who noticed. I know MY daughter takes the time to see those little details, while I'm busy with other things!)

I don't know about their life cycle, but I did a quick search, and maybe these two links will help:

In particular, there is a paragraph in that second link called "Life Cycle and Habits." It will explain what you and your daughter witnessed.

It's cool that you and your daughter got to watch that together. A couple years ago we had a praying mantis camped out on our front storm door. I think it was a good place to catch bugs at night (the porch light comes on when it gets dark). One evening, we got to watch him shed his old skin/exoskeleton. It was really neat, and she still remembers it. Good times! :-)

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