Low-maintenance and docile, leopard geckos make excellent house companions. You don’t need to worry about feeding them, as a balanced diet of delicious insects is enough to keep them content. We all know how easy these are to find.
Although they feed on a wide range of land isopods, some vets warn new Leo parents from feeding them rolly pollies. Is that a valid concern? Can leopard geckos eat rolly pollies?
Today, we answer these questions so you can make sure your pet stays healthy and safe.
Are Rolly Pollies Good for Your Leopard Geckos?
There isn’t a definitive answer to that question, as they can add nutritional value or cause harm depending on several factors. However, we can say for sure that they’re an excellent source of calcium, which is crucial for growing strong bones and teeth, especially in juvenile geckos.
That’s why female leopard geckos seek rolly pollies out during their breeding season, as calcium is a crucial component of the eggshells. They usually lay plenty of clutches, with each clutch containing one or two eggs.
As you might expect, the process can be quite draining. So, consuming rolly pollies is crucial to compensate for the lost calcium.
The best part? You don’t have to search for them in the wild. They’re readily available online and in pet stores.
What Are the Harms of Feeding Rolly Pollies to Your Leopard Gecko?
Despite offering plenty of nutritional value, feeding rolly pollies to your leopard gecko doesn’t come without risks. They have hard shells that contain a lot of chitin. So, not only can they be hard to digest for some leos, but the chitin can also cause intestinal blockage.
While this isn’t a con per se, you shouldn’t treat rolly pollies as your leopard gecko’s primary food source. You still need to feed them a wide variety of insects, like mealworms and dubia roaches.
Don’t get us started on dead rolly pollies that come from your garden. First of all, your gecko probably won’t eat them because they don’t like dead insects. Second, even if they’re alive, they might contain harmful pesticides that could make your gecko sick.
So, should you feed rolly pollies to your leopard gecko or not? Yes, you definitely should, but not on a regular basis, and make sure you get them from a reputable supplier.
Should You Put Rolly Pollies in Your Leopard Gecko’s Tank?
Even if your pet gecko doesn’t like rolly pollies, there’s still value in adding them to its tank, as they’re excellent bioactive cleaners.
That means they can feed on decaying plants, fecal materials, and any dead insects your leopard gecko may have missed.
At first glance, this may not seem like a big deal, but getting rid of such harmful wastes gives your gecko a healthier environment to stay in.
How to Feed Rolly Pollies to Your Leopard Gecko?
Some vets recommend offering a few rolly pollies in the seventh meal. You can just add a few of them to their food bowl every week or so. That would balance the calcium and phosphorus ratios in their food.
Occasionally, you can drop a few rolly pollies in the tank to clean it and let your leopard feed on them from time to time. Just make sure not to add too many.
How Should You Store Rolly Pollies?
Storing rolly pollies isn’t as simple as keeping them in the package they came in. If you don’t want to feed your leopard gecko sick crustaceans, you need to provide a proper growing environment for them.
Let’s see how you can do that.
You don’t need to keep them in a big tank. Any plastic container would do the trick. Just make sure it’s well-ventilated, so use a container with a few holes in it.
You also want to add 1.5 inches of moist soil, as rolly pollies like damp environments.
Feeding and Caring
Luckily, these insects are low-maintenance. A piece of fruit and a few celery leaves are enough to keep them healthy.
Since they like moist environments, your best bet would be to invest in a humidifier. If it’s too expensive, you can spray the container with water once a day.
Keep in mind that pill bugs produce waste that’s high in ammonia. If you don’t want them to get sick, keep the enclosure clean and replace the soil from time to time. You’d also be protecting them from potential mold.
Is There an Alternative to Rolly Pollies?
Yes, there is. If you don’t want to risk feeding rolly pollies to your Leo, calcium supplements would be an effective alternative.
Like rolly pollies, you can offer them as occasional snacks, and you wouldn’t have to worry about intestinal blockage.
I know what you’re thinking: Couldn’t I just give my baby more calcium-rich insects? Well, let’s take a look at the following table:
|Calcium Ratio (mg)
|Phosphorus Ratio (mg)
As you can see, most of the insects leopard geckos consume have a higher phosphorus ratio than calcium. If you don’t know, you need to maintain a 2:1 calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in your gecko’s diet.
So, you need to choose a supplement that matches your leopard’s insect consumption and compensates for any lack of calcium.
As we’ve already established, leopard geckos mainly feed on insects. So, how can you feed them supplements?
The easiest way is to coat the insects with calcium powder before feeding them to your leopard. Make sure not to overdo it, though, as excess calcium powder can be repellent.
So, the next time a new gecko parent asks, can leopard geckos eat rolly pollies? You can tell them that it’s up to them to decide. Rich in calcium content, rolly pollies can stimulate healthy skeletal growth and compensate for lost calcium during breeding.
However, their hard, chitin-filled shells can cause digestive issues. So, we recommend feeding them to your leopard in limited portions. If you don’t want to take the risk, you can always use calcium supplements. They’re a great source of nutrition and pose less risk to your Leo.