What do Rollie Pollies Eat?

What do Rollie Pollies (Rolly Pollies) Eat?

Turns out rollie pollies (sometimes spelled rolly pollies) aren’t overly picky eaters. Rollie pollies, also called pillbugs, could survive mostly on soft, decaying matter, like grass and leaves, and still live between two and five years. They can also safely eat fish food, fresh vegetables, and even crumpled-up cardboard. See what I mean about not being picky?

feed your follie pollies fish food

But that’s not all. Rollies pollies munch on scat, including their own, and decaying matter, like flesh. Rollie pollies need copper to live, and each time the bugs defecate, they lose a little of itโ€”hence the recycling process. This practice is called coprophagy. They have also been known to eat mulch. They tend to make their homes in wooded areas, particularly where there are plenty of damp leaves and other decaying vegetation, where food can easily be found. They can also be found living in piles of compost and areas containing mulch.

Rollie Pollies Eating Habits Aid in Decomposition

Rollie pollies are (like some beetles) also decomposers: They consume material from dead plants and animals and return essential nutrients back into the earth. They are considered beneficial decomposers because of this ability. However, they don’t always prefer to eat dead materials. Sometimes they’ll eat ripe fruit or vegetables that are in contact with soil. When plant growth is slow-moving during times of cooler temperatures, rollie pollies’ hunger may take over, and they may harm the lush roots or stems of certain plants found in the garden. This damage-causing behavior, however, seldom occurs. To some home dwellers’ dismay, some rollie polllies may make their way into buildings. This is especially true when vegetation runs alongside the house. Wet soil, due to poor drainage or other conditions, is also an invitation for rollie pollies to enter a house.

Lester Ehler, an entomology professor at the University of California, found that rollie pollies also eat the eggs of stink bugs. Stink bugs are known to cause crop damage; therefore, the rollie pollie may be considered an asset in insect control. According to Wayne Mathis, a retired entomologist from the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., some stink bugs are predatory and are also used in biocontrol of other insects. So between stink bugs and then rollie pollies, much insect control is occurring.

What Do Rollie Pollies Eat if Kept as a Pet?

If taken in as a pet, the rollie pollie might enjoy a wider array of foods. A petowner could fatten up the bug with fresh fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce or even apples skins. The bugs can also eat the skin of zucchinis and potatoes. Oatmeal is also an edible option for them. Crumpled egg cartons, in addition to cardboard, are also safe for them to eat, as long as there is no print on the material. Water is their beverage of choice. The bugs’ food can be spread out within their habitat once a week. If the rollie pollie is a pet, it’s important to remember that any of their uneaten food should be removed from their habitat before the food gets moldy.

With a menu like that, it’s no wonder rollie pollies survive as long as they do!

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    • Brian Garner
    • January 1, 2019

    Wow I can not believe that that’s what they eat that’s amazing because I never seen a bug that can eat real food and carboard๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Keely McDonald
    • October 9, 2018

    I just took a baby one into my house and put it into a glass container. This was very helpful. At the moment I am feeding him cardboard as he/she is just a baby and I donโ€™t wanna overfeed him/her.

    • natasha evoli
    • October 9, 2018

    we found rollie-pollies because my little sister’s fish is almost dead.she loves them!thank you

    • Hayden Burt
    • October 9, 2018

    I have roly polys and they had babies a couple months ago and they all are alive thanks to this page โ˜บ๏ธ

    • Cool
    • July 2, 2018

    I have two pill bugs and one is named Rolly and the other is Polly. This morning Rolly died. ๐Ÿ˜ข Polly ran all over the place until I picked her up. I will miss Rolly.
    OMG this website was SO HELPFUL!

    • Elsie Newell
    • May 7, 2018

    Wow this is a really good site. My little sister keep going outside to get food. We now have pet Rollie Pollies

    • rose hydery
    • April 17, 2018

    my frend had a rolly pollie and i want to now what they eat!

    • Tam J. M.
    • August 7, 2017

    Oh my goodness, I had no idea pillbugs were called roly polies and that they were kept as pets! I’ve just discovered them, so to speak, because I noticed two of them seemed to be hanging out together on two different occasions! Pretty interesting behaviour! So of course, being human, I started to want to protect them & wondered if they had enough to eat & drink in the kitchen. ๐Ÿ™‚ As a result of becoming more aware of the intelligence & preciousness of the lives of creatures, I’ve become a vegan. I feel much better this way & am constantly amazed by the seeming individuality & awareness of each little life, no matter how small. Anyway, very best wishes & thanks for the post!

    • C B
    • July 24, 2017

    I had 20 roly poly’s in a habitat, and i came out this morning and they were all upside down and lifeless. I don’t know what happned. They had also just had babies.

    • Taylor Thacher
    • June 5, 2017

    I’m taking care of two of them

    • Kitty Cat
    • May 30, 2017

    i have a few roly pollies and some snails and ants in a container would they get along? Also, what should i put in the container if i have these creatures?

    • Emily Barth
    • May 26, 2017

    How do you tell if a Rolly Polly is a female?๐Ÿ˜œI have two Rolly Pollys.๐Ÿค—

    • period 1 bio
    • May 26, 2017

    just caught around 50 pillly bugs and we arei put them in a cardboard box with holes is that ok

    • Joseph
    • May 8, 2017

    I have 63 rolly pollys in a tiny container from a filler store cauld dieso and a lady bug, do you think they’d get along? ๐Ÿœ

    • Anonymous 5
    • April 28, 2017

    I have about 215 rolly pollies ranging from golden, rust, grey, brown, mottled, and white, and they ADORE lettuce, chickweed, grass, and I once saw them eat a dead earthworm. ๐Ÿ˜„ They love nesting in gum balls and under shells and bark. I house them in a 5-gallon bucket.

    • W W
    • April 14, 2017

    I have 20 rollie pollies but how do I tell if they male or female?
    Ty, WekWek.

    • Blizzard
    • April 10, 2017

    how big should a roly poly terrarium be? Is it okay to have a female and a male in the same terrarium?

    • Z P
    • March 28, 2017

    Does anyone know how big a habitat a rollie pollie needs? Mine have a very small one.
    ( Sorry i cant put my name )

    • Lane Elder
    • March 13, 2017

    I have a bunch of rolly pollies my biggest one is almost an inch and they all seem to love chiclid flake fish food.

    • Bobert Franks
    • February 24, 2017

    I just made a terrarium in a 2 liter bottle and once i caped it i saw something moving looked closer and saw 2 pill bugs. One is slightly larger than the other but they seem to be sticking together. I have one leaf in there now should I put in more? I have some plants will they be fine till the plants start dropping leafs?

    • Maya Herrington
    • January 30, 2017

    I love rollie pollies! I’m going to have rollie pollies! I have fish food to feed them. I also love animals too!

    • Storm Derta
    • September 29, 2016

    Thanks for the info! By the way, what type of cardboard will they eat? Does it have to be moist? Can I use a paper bag?

    • hello
    • September 21, 2016

    do they eat leave because i have a rolly polly i think eat flowers.

      • rpfriend
      • September 21, 2016

      Yes, rollie pollies eat leaves and also flower vegetation.

    • Lusinda Jones
    • September 20, 2016

    How does it hunt tbh?

    • Patrick Acosta
    • July 11, 2016

    Do rolly pollie bugs eat slugs?

      • Nick
      • July 11, 2016

      Hi Patrick,

      Rolly pollie bugs eat mostly decaying organic plant material. It is possible that they could eat part of a slug that had died but not likely.

        • user
        • July 13, 2016

        rollie pollies don’t eat slugs -_-

    • someone
    • May 9, 2016

    my roly poly got dehydrated and died. btw dead one’s name is speckles. have another one name is marshmellow. sorry cant put real name I like remaining anonymous…………………..

    • Charlit pesto
    • April 25, 2016

    Hao,I know you are using mom’s E-mail>,< !*Hmf>,

    • Charlit pesto
    • April 19, 2016

    THANKS,SO MUCH,now I almost know everything about,CUTE LITTLE PILLYS! So,so,so sorry that I don’t have a E-male<(^^<(.Anyways,I think I know how to solve this little problimo. So put the other the in another jar.Or throw it away.Ya,something like that,well only if you want to.You know Hao,I have 101 pill bugs,and still don't fight for mates,they just go with the flow,GET IT LITTLE SIS!I know I'm in school,and my teacher is coming!BY,I'M GETTING IN TROBLE!BY!TAKE CA-A-OH!

    • ME
    • April 11, 2016

    do rollie pollies fight with the babys or does the mom hurt them??

    • April 11, 2016

    My rollie pollie 705just had babies im sorta nervos

    • Hao Tang
    • April 7, 2016

    I got 3 pill bugs,but the two male ones are fighting for the only female, Serina, my female is really sad,and scared,because,the first male one is her LOVER,and it looks likes is DIEING, so BADLY, and also Serina is hiding behind the rocks!!!!Can you,or someone solve it,I’d greatfull if you can help me,thank you ,SO SO SO MUCH!!!!!!!

    • seth turner
    • April 6, 2016

    I love my rolly polly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kira Ford
    • April 4, 2016

    All ready have a pet!๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•

    • samantha v
    • March 15, 2016

    Best pet facts about rolly pollies

    • jared
    • March 14, 2016

    I’m planning on keeping a rolly polly so this was very useful, thank you!

    • Hao Tang
    • March 3, 2016


    • Hao Tang
    • March 1, 2016

    Hi!I am new!Thank you,now you see Sleepy
    [My sleepy little only rolly polly!]

    • Kitty Chan
    • February 29, 2016

    I love my pet rolly pollie he is fat and i love him lol

    • katerina b
    • February 20, 2016

    I have 5 Rollie pollies and all of the boys are named ash and the girls are named serrena. I think they are shy and they are so cute! My name is katerina And i am 8

    • Sophia Dubois
    • February 12, 2016

    My name is Sophia I an 9 I am in forth grade I have a pet Rollie Pollie named Rollie he likes to eat seallery and paper he is really cute I like to bring him to school and when I go places he is amazing pet I love ROLLIE !!!!!!!!!!!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜โค๏ธโค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

    • Amelia Tucker
    • January 18, 2016

    I have one rolly poly named Bob. My rolly poly likes tiny little pieces of nachos and cheese puffs. I like him. My name is Amelia and I’m 4 and a half.

    • Peege J
    • January 16, 2016

    I have 3 bright orange rolly pollies. I give them moist cardboard and fish food. PLEASE make sure your rolly polly environment is very moist, because they have gills (like fish) and need water. I love the little guys. I have Wall-e, Eve, and Ralph ๐Ÿ™‚

    • hustune miku
    • December 13, 2015

    I have a rolly polly in my room and I am taking care of it and feeding it leaves actually I have two. LoLz

    • Brenda Saxton
    • December 5, 2015

    I have hundreds of rolly Polly’s that I’ve been hunting for about three years. I have fed them , carrots, lettuce, they love cardboard! Haven’t tried the fish food yet.
    I have found some with beautiful colors. Orange, white, copper,yellow, brown, some with blue bellies,(not the blue that means it is sick) and gray.
    I have also found some with interesting patterns.
    I have soft shell and hard shiny shells. The hard shiny are my favorite and before I started hunting I had no idea there are so many kinds. I thought there was only gray. I have huge ones all the way down to babies.
    They are fun to watch and they make me laugh.

    • Chloe Charlotte
    • November 18, 2015

    Great imformation. I have just started to raise rollie pollies, today, and wanted to know a little more about them.

    • savannah Redmond
    • November 17, 2015

    I started out with 50 or 60 adults and they made around 200 babies lol now I have to upgrade my habitat to a bigger one. They LOVE fish food too.

    • Alyssa Maserang
    • November 13, 2015

    I love Rollie pollies and how can they eat mulch.

    • karina/isabella pacheco
    • October 26, 2015

    wow this is amazing info. I am 9 and were doing enviorments for animals in science. I picked a rollie pollies so this helped me so much lol! thx thx thx

    • Isaac Ackerman
    • October 3, 2015

    Thx for the advice I was feeding my rollys trail mix

    • Leelee Allen
    • October 2, 2015

    I love rolly pollies but put them in a bag want to no how to keep them living

    • tedy bear
    • September 25, 2015

    thanks for the help guys caus I have 20 hotel full of em

    • Catalina Scott
    • September 21, 2015

    thx, now i know what they eat! my only question now is how im supposed to tell their gender…..

    • Ava Wรผthrich
    • September 21, 2015

    We (me and my sister) found 2 rolly pollies and gave them food. It was so cute how they munched their food. Adorible just adoribe. Thanks again. Yor Awesome

    • Brittany
    • September 20, 2015

    I had to collect 10 rolly pollies and bring them into school for a lab in my biology class. Thanks for the help.

    • danna chacon
    • August 31, 2015

    thank u for telling me what they eat i use to not keep them because i didnt know what they eat now i do

    • Hailey Lalalalala
    • August 2, 2015

    We just caught a Rollie pollie and we named him Jason
    Thanks for telling us what they eat

    • Alison Walker
    • July 9, 2015

    My sister and I just found tons of rolls pollies, and now we know how to feed them! Thanks!

    • Ava Wรผthrich
    • July 6, 2015


    • Ava Wรผthrich
    • July 6, 2015

    Me and my sister love rolly pollies, we’ve always tried to keep them but we never knew what they ate. Since we have found your website we can keep them now.THANK YOU!!!

    • zozozeze 73
    • July 4, 2015

    i have a roly poly hotel- with 147 roly polys in it this helped me so much thanks!

    • Ethan Ilish
    • June 19, 2015

    I am trying to make an airtight ecosystem with grass, moss, and some other plant. I don’t know if rolly pollies would survive. Will they?

    • jibril johnson
    • June 17, 2015

    my sister and i have 6 rollie pollies and i learned how to feed them. THANKS!

    • brad gerstner
    • June 16, 2015

    well I win beaus I have counted! i have more than 107 I have 108 so ha ha ha

    • Anika Hoyt
    • June 13, 2015

    I feed my roly Polly’s fish food. Some of them had eggs. :-[

    • Lesley Harris
    • June 12, 2015

    my sister and I have two Rollie pollies

    • Sammy
    • June 1, 2015

    My rolly polly is named Rolly Polly. Hamburgers are not bring eaten by rolly pollies. Age 4

    • ava
    • May 30, 2015

    me and my sister are make a Rollie Pollie as a pet we need to know what it eats you’ve been helpful very helpful i’m 8 now

    • John
    • May 30, 2015

    I know they can eat that. Thanks for helping other people out!

    • Zak Carman
    • May 29, 2015

    Thanks for letting me know what rolly pollies eat I caught 3 small ones and a queen and I’m going to name them

    • Teagan Langston
    • May 27, 2015

    I like rolly pollies. I have one named Kolly.
    P.S. I’m a boy.

    • Dalance L
    • May 26, 2015

    thanks for letting me know what Rollie Pollies eat and i named my Rollie Pollie “spiderman”.

    • juli butler
    • May 24, 2015

    I am so glad you told me what rollie pollies eat because l caught 1 in my back yard and I kept it now I now what to feed it.

    • Daniel Shapiro
    • May 23, 2015

    i have roly poly named: Trolly Polly !!!

    He/she is super cute! (Don’t know which gender)

    Since I have a fish and fish food at home, I’ll know
    what to feed it.

    I love fruit too so I’ll feed it a lot but not too much!

    • Claire and Zac
    • May 21, 2015

    we have 5 rolly pollies named ted fred jewly mandy and bob. this helped alot thanks!

    • kahlan johnson
    • May 19, 2015

    thank u soooooo much because i have two of the these little guys they are the cutest things. now i can feed them thanks to u

    • Alan
    • July 9, 2013

    Thanks soooooooooo munch!( much).

    Alan . Age 8.

    • me
    • June 12, 2013

    i have 98 rollie pollies and they LOVE orange peels and make sure to keep the habitat moist or else they will die

    • Christina
    • June 8, 2013

    Cool beans I never thought about what they ate or even as a pet being a mother is awesome all the wonderful things I keep learning cause of my children I daughter love any bug or animal hope it pays off I see a vet in her future. Thanks

  1. i hate bugs but i love pillbugs.it is so intresting learing what pillbugs can eat like crumbled up egg cartons

  2. thanks so much now i can feed my little cousins pillbugs.

    • Light nijia 97
    • April 30, 2013

    Wow this is really useful me and a few friends have 20 of those little munchers

    • cindi
    • April 29, 2013

    I haave 2 rolly pollies. THEY ARE SO CUTE!!!!!!

    • macey
    • April 17, 2013

    thanks allot! I had to find rollie pollies in my school garden for terreriuams. I found a few but only kept one! so now we for every where.

    • ariel
    • April 7, 2013

    omg! i have a rollie pollie hotel i made with my friend…. we have atleast 50! thx now we know what to feed them!

    • Alexa
    • February 17, 2013

    Ilike rolly pollies. I had one but it was killed. I now Know what to feed him so he won’t be killed to.

  3. what still comfused

    • carson and rain
    • September 20, 2012

    yay we can feed are 14 rollie pollies thx so much !!! <3

    • trizano family
    • September 16, 2012

    Thank you so much our sons are so happy they know what to feed them now they can keep them thank you so much very helpful information

    • Abigail
    • September 15, 2012

    Hi I am Abigail. I love rollie pollies. They are my favorite. My rollie pollies name is Jenna.

    • Mom of 7
    • September 13, 2012

    Thank you so much. My son had to collect some pillbugs for a science project, and was worried what to feed them.

    • leigh motes
    • September 9, 2012

    Hi I am leigh I have 30 rollie pollies thx to u thry should live fof a long time

    • leigh motes
    • September 9, 2012

    Hi I am leigh I have 30 rollie pollies and I real hope I have them 4 a long time:)

    • leigh motes
    • September 9, 2012

    I have 35 rollie pollies and thx to u they will live for a long long long time.

    • tess
    • August 28, 2012

    I found this rollie pollie just now! I think I could find some other ones…bye!

    • Anna
    • July 18, 2012

    cool, thanks! There’s a TON of rolly pollies in our compost bin-thing in our backyard. Do you think we could put in cardboard and egg cartons?

    • DANIEL
    • July 17, 2012


    • Jenna
    • July 15, 2012

    I have 2 Rollie pollies.

    • Jenn
    • July 12, 2012

    Thanks for the info. I started a rollie pollie farm and they are doing well. One even had babies. =^_^=

    • cool

    • Craig
    • July 8, 2012

    I can’t wait to fatten these little buggers up! I’m going to enjoy them fried and dipped in chocolate. Nothing like a sweet crispy ROLLY POLLIE!!!

    • jonathan
    • June 29, 2012

    Thanks for the info.I fed my rolly pollie oatmeal & apple skin

    • niza
    • June 20, 2012

    more peoples should keep rolly pollies as pets

    • niza
    • June 20, 2012

    Thx I just found a rolly pollie in my room!Now i can take care of it.Now tat I know wat they eat!

  4. i have a rolly pw were to get the food noolies and i dont

    • AJ
    • June 16, 2012

    My daughter is ecstatic! Now she can feed her 4 rollies cortectly! Thanks so much for the info!

    • saketa
    • June 12, 2012

    who in the heck is going to keep a rollie pollie as a pet..lol..lol

      • rosi
      • March 4, 2013

      i would

      • emmie
      • June 29, 2012

      I wuold. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. i got a ropy poly and I fed it some spinach, thx for the info

    • Helen
    • June 7, 2012

    Since I have 2 rollie pollies living with me I now what they shold eat I have casidy and Stevie

  6. I didnt know that they ate apple skins thanks!

    • chloe
    • June 2, 2012

    Thanks now I can feed mine

    Ps his name is green :p

    • eduardo
    • May 22, 2012

    Thnxz very helpful now i could feed my!!:-)

  7. i finally know what to feed them now my other one won`t die like my other one did

    • matt
    • May 4, 2012

    thank you so much now i can feed mine! c(^.^c)

  8. Wow I never knew Rollie pollies eat fish food.

      • madison
      • August 3, 2012

      thank you so much

Comments are closed.