Can mice eat pillbugs?

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Can mice eat pillbugs?  Empty Can mice eat pillbugs?

Post by Colors on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 3:06 pm

I collected some wild pillbugs/sowbugs and I'm breeding them in captivity. I was wondering if they would be safe for mice/hamsters/gerbils? I'm not currently breeding any other sources of protein supplements such as mealworms, crickets, or superworms. Smile
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Post by MooMouse on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 7:40 am

I don't know if pillbugs specifically are safe, but the problem with introducing anything to your mice that is from the wild is the chance of it carrying harmful bacteria. There is no doubt that the bugs you have collected are carrying some sort of bacteria, but the question is "Is it harmful for mice?". I found this experiment, which shows that bacteria is definitely present on wild pillbugs. Honestly, I would stay away from any wild bugs for this reason, but many someone else will chime in with a more definite answer if mice can eat pillbugs or not.

Experiment: http://bulldog2.redlands.edu/fac/ben_aronson/hal/index1.htm

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Post by CallaLily on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 9:13 am

@MooMouse wrote:Honestly, I would stay away from any wild bugs for this reason

I agree.

I don't know if they're safe for mice to eat but I did find that people can eat them.  Of course, that doesn't mean they're ok for mice.  They are also commonly placed in land hermit crab enclosures as a "clean up crew" and the crabs do eat them. But then, they eat a lot of things that mice should not.  Sorry I'm not any real help. Laughing

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Post by Colors on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 11:31 am

Thanks, is there any way to remove bacteria in the pillbugs over time? Maybe I could continue breeding them in captivity and get rid of the wild parents. Once the babies grow up then they'll breed. I don't know for sure if this works though Razz
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Post by CallaLily on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 12:23 pm

I'm not sure there is any way to guarantee those you've bred from wild caught stock will be free of disease. Things like that could just keep passing on to each generation. You can purchase woodlice online that are intended to be used in pet enclosures, and therefore are probably much less risk.

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Post by Colors on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 12:37 pm

Ok, thanks CallaLilly Smile I've thought about that, but don't those people catch their pillbugs from the wild?? How else would they get them?
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Post by CinnamonPearl on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 2:19 pm

Store bought live insects are safe. Wild ones are not.

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Post by CallaLily on Sun 15 Jan 2017, 3:11 pm

This person says all of his bugs are captive bred by him and the only exception are ones he's purchased that are captive bred by other hobbyists. http://www.roachcrossing.com/category/for-sale/non-roach/isopods/

I don't know for sure where/how he got his start. Feeder insects that have been captive bred for generations are considered safer than those that are wild caught.  I've been doing a little reading about it and, while I don't have definite sources, it seems most agree that if you really want to start with wild caught you need to breed them for at least a couple generations - separating out the babies from the parents each time - to lower the risk. **Lowers the risk. Doesn't remove it.**

That said, I still can't find any info on if mice should/would even eat them.

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Post by Colors on Mon 16 Jan 2017, 6:05 am

Well being as inexperienced as I was in the past I actually gave some to my mice after breeding them in captivity a few times. I don't do that now, but my mice certainly enjoyed them Very Happy No problems occurred, but I do want to be safe.
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