What Do Rolly Pollies Eat - The Shocking Truth

Maybe you've seen them around your room, maybe you keep one as a pet, but what do rolly pollies, otherwise known as pillbugs eat? The answer is pretty much anything. Rolly pollies may be blue blooded, gill breathing crustaceans but one thing they're not, is fussy.

Give a rolly pollie soft, decaying matter such as grass or leaves and they'll live for up to 5 years on it. Turns out, even if all you gave a rolly pollie was cardboard, it would still find a way to get some nutritional value out of it. This raises an important question, is there anything a rolly pollie won't eat?

The more you look into it, the more it becomes apparent. Rolly pollies are eating machines. Although for most of the time they are decomposers, look out for rolly pollies in the winter months or when the temperature drops a few degrees.
About What Do Rolly Pollies Eat - The Shocking Truth


Because if they run out of food due to slow plant growth they will begin to eat the roots of your plants. They will also occasionally snack on fruits and vegetables growing in your garden. This may cause some avid gardeners to consider them a pest but their hunger and unfussy eating habits can also be a major benefit to the agricultural world.

Stink bugs provide a major problem to crop growers. They feed on plant juices, damaging the plants both internally and externally but what does this have to do with rolly pollies? Well, it is here that a rolly pollies appetite becomes a major bonus, they eat the stink bug's eggs.

This lowers the population and therefore lowers the damage they do to crops. So while occasionally an amatuer gardener will see rolly pollies and their ability to eat anything in a bad light, overall, they do a lot more harm than good. They take dead matter and decompose it, therefore proving their invaluability to any garden or crop.

Rolly Pollies will rarely damage your garden by eating the roots of your plants. This will only occur in the most dire circumstances wherein they have no alternative food.

Why Rolly Pollies Eat Almost Anything
It was mentioned a few times that rolly pollies are decomposers but what does that mean and how does it work? Well, decomposers are organisms that are capable of breaking down other organisms. This is the process of decomposition.

Decomposition is the breaking down of larger elements into smaller ones. Through this, the nutrients can be recycled back into the first step of the food chain. This is what rolly pollies do. They eat the things no other animals will as to recycle it back to start in the food chain anew.

This is what makes them a great addition to any home garden. Rolly pollies act are a vital step in the composting process. Just by making sure there is ample food for them to feed on, they will turn your scraps into healthy, fruitful dirt. New research has shown that beyond decomposing these bugs also remove heavy metals from soils.

Now why is this important? Well, through the removal of heavy metals, rolly pollies ensure the stabilization of growing conditions and the protection of important groundwater sources. While heavy metal toxins may negatively affect other bugs and insects, rolly pollies crystallize these substances in the mid-gut. So for any soil that is contaminated by a heavy metal, pill bugs can help out.

Possible Foods. Will They Decompose It? Notes.
Cardboard. Yes. Unsurprisingly, rolly pollies will even eat cardboard. Therefore you can turn your unused boxes into healthy, productive soil with the help of these creatures.
Food Scraps. Yes. Rolly pollies will eat most, if not all, of your food scraps. Merely leave it to them and they will make sure your leftover dinner gets turned into soil.
Decaying Meat. Yes. Rolly pollies will eat meat in any state. Whether it's cooked, uncooked or even decaying their guts can take it in, process it, and expel good, proper soil.

Weird Facts About Rolly Pollies

So now you know what they eat, what else is there that's special about this little crustacean. Well for starters, that it's a crustacean and not an insect. In fact, although going by the name pill bugs, they are much more related to shrimp or crayfish than any insect.

Pillbugs also breathe through gills. What, but don't they live on land? Yes, and they survive best in moist conditions and will actually drown if they get completely submerged underwater. More interesting than this is what they do when they feel threatened.

We've all seen it in cartoons. When an armadillo gets threatened they curl up into a protective ball. Well guess what, rolly pollies do it too, this is actually where they get their name.

When a rolly pollie gets sick, they'll be sure to let you know as they turn bright blue. So if you see a lot of brightly coloured pill bugs in your garden, be careful, there could be something going around. When growing into adulthood, due to their hard exoskeleton, rolly pollies will molt while growing.

First off, the back section will fall off and then a few days a later, so will the front. So as you can see, rolly pollies are interesting, complex and useful creatures.

They are composting machines, good for your garden and actually prevent against pests. Eating almost anything you throw at them, why wouldn't you want rolly pollies in your garden?

These crustaceans are some of the weirder creatures you'll come across but they help out. For any avid gardener, rolly pollies are a must have. Feed them your scraps, your cardboard and anything that they can decompose, your garden will be happier for it.

The Truth

It is best to remember that rolly pollies are not picky eaters. Pillbugs are dependent mostly on decaying matter like leaves and grass, and they can live on that sustenance alone even in five years. Other than that, they also eat fresh vegetables, fish food and cardboard. Not picky, really.

You'd be surprised to find out that rolly pollies also eat scat, and yes, even their own dump. And they also eat decaying matter like rotten flesh.

Why this diet? Rolly pollies require high doses of copper, because they lose copper every time they take a dump. And that's why they eat their own feces—a process called coprophagy.

Rolly pollies also eat mulch, which is why they are often found in wooded areas, especially in places where there are a lot of damp leaves and decaying vegetation. They are also residents of compost piles and other places where you can find mulch.

Rolly Pollies are Unsung Heroes of the Earth
Rolly pollies are decomposers, just like beetles. They eat dead animals and plants, and then defecate the essential nutrients into the earth, which makes them quite important in the earth's food chain.

They don't just rely on dead things, though. They also eat ripe vegetables and fruit that are in the soil. So when plants grow slowly during the winter, the rolly pollies go extra hungry and they eat the lush stems or roots of plants in the garden.

But they don't always go berserk and do damage.

Scientists found out that rolly pollies love to eat the eggs of stink bugs. And we all hate those stinky buggers, don't we? So rolly pollies actually are a great insect control option.

What Do Rolly Pollies Eat as Pets?

If you decide to take rolly pollies as pets, you won't have to worry about finding grubs for them. You can simply feed them vegetables and fruits such as overripe apples, carrots, cabbages and lettuce.

You can also feed them zucchini and potato skins. If you have old oatmeal in your cupboard, they'd take them, too. And yes, you can throw in the cardboard the oatmeal came with. They'll graciously accept water as their beverage, so nothing fancy there.