Best Arthropod Pets and Why?

What would you say are some of the best athropod “pets,” and why?
Low maintenance, ideally no smell. Lol.


I know many keep Oniscidea as pets (when I visit arthropod events there’re always lots of them on sale of different morphs and shapes), I kept collembola for university class and they don’t need anything but moist and old leaves to feed on, breeding very fast.


I’ve kept a number of arthropods. I don’t think any had a particular smell. Low maintenance is often circumstantial, but most are pretty easy to take care of. Depending on your local environment humidity or temperature control may be necessary. Food I think is the trickiest. Many carnivores will only eat live organisms, which can be difficult to get depending on if you have a pet store nearby or not, and if they stock them. Herbivores often require fresh leaves. @Marina_Gorbunova 's mentions are good, detritovores are probably the easiest, but springtails are easy too (I fed mine yeast if I remember correctly).

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Thanks for your input @Marina_Gorbunova and @natemarchessault
Do you have any thoughts on beetles? Ideally slower moving beetles that I could create an interesting habitat for?
Separately, how do people feel about having a beetle as a pet ethically?
Is it a controversial topic or suggested against?

Blue death feigning beetles are a cool pet, they’re native to the deserts of the Southwest, so they don’t require a lot of water. The only issue is that they’re rarely if at all bred in captivity, instead being caught in the wild.


Sun beetles are another good alternative, especially if you want to try your hand in breeding them. They’re also gorgeous in my opinion.

Stag beetles and Hercules beetles are good to raise from larvae. However, they don’t live too long as adults.

Whats the deal with catching a wild beetle and keeping it captive?
Is there a list of allowed and protected against insects you could do this with?
I don’t know if I would be comfortable with removing them from their natural habitat.
For some reason I feel a certain amount of “disconnect” if I can acquire them from a breeder.

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You’d have to read up on your local laws regarding catching and keeping local beetles. There’s no controversy relating to catching isopods, though this may be due to the majority of them being invasive in the US. I’m not sure if this applies to native insects or beetles. Breeders are your best bet regarding keeping insects as pets. Make sure to purchase captive-bred (CBB) animals to prevent them from being taken from the wild.


I quite enjoyed keeping Triops, although I wouldn’t recommend the crappy little plastic tanks they’re sold with - a proper fish tank, with filter, will be better for the Triops and make a more interesting display. Triops aren’t hard to care for (some experience with aquariums is certainly a benefit though), and are fairly easy and inexpensive to obtain. The species I kept was Triops australiensis I believe, but care of other species is not much different. Do keep them well-fed though, as Triops are prone to cannibalism.

Never kept isopods, but I see the appeal, and from what I’ve heard they aren’t difficult to keep either.


That reminds me, opae ula are also very low maintenance, all you have to do is drop some food in every couple of months (optional).

Here’s a neat video on them

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Jumping spiders can be great pets. They adapt fairly quickly to life in a small terrarium. They are easy to care for as long as you can provide small live prey. They are photogenic and can even be trained/acclimated to posing. The only downside is that they only tend to live for two or three years.


I had a tarantula as a child. I passed her off when I went to college, and she made ~10 out of about ~30 years possible. People don’t realize how long they can live!

That said, I appreciate the spiders that protect my house from ants, and try to tolerate and clean up after their messes. I particularly cherish relationships with animals that are neither pets nor strangers – “neighbors”, maybe?


A. verrucosus and several other feigners are being bred with increasing frequency in captivity.

I don’t suggest desert tenebrionids as captives though; they generally thrive and are physically healthy but a lot of them seem psychologically ill-suited for walled environments (I say this as a tenebrionid expert). Many spp. exhibit cryptic but severe stress behaviors when captive, and these go unnoticed by pretty much everyone, even researchers. And whether insects are actually conscious or not is unclear but I do err on the side of caution.

Giant fleshy-fruit-feeding heteropterans like Leptoglossus zonatus are pretty relaxing. They’re rather lethargic, but the nice thing is that they can be given unopened hard-shelled fruits like pomegranate as soon as their proboscises are long enough to penetrate the shell, and unopened fruits spoil way less rapidly than peeled ones.

Do note that many heteropterans (incl. L. zonatus) have been known to die after undercrowding, so best to keep them in groups (little seems to be known about this phenomenon, but a research book I read hints that this has something to do with solitary individuals being unable to produce sufficient saliva to feed themselves properly). Also basically no one sells live Heteroptera online, except for a few lab spp. like Oncopeltus, so you’ll have to catch them yourself.

Taking live native insects from the wild is no big deal as long as you don’t overcollect, violate the national park “no take” policies or other lawsnof that sort, or damage habitat. Do note that a few weirdos like Pasimachus lay only one or two (absolutely gigantic) eggs a year and these should be collected with more caution.


I’ve kept two arthropods- a praying mantis and a vinegaroon- and I really enjoyed both. I didn’t notice a particular smell for either of them directly, but I will say that the feeder crickets I used with the mantis really stank.

The mantis was the higher maintenance of the two because of the need to maintain her humidity level. However, watching her molt and hunt was so cool that it was well worth it for me. She had a relatively short lifespan, which could be a pro or a con- it’s certainly less of a commitment than a tarantula or similar.

The vinegaroon was lower-maintenance and extremely chill for something so intimidating-looking; I was able to handle it sometimes and was never sprayed, and really enjoyed its quiet presence.

I’m considering getting another arthropod in a few years myself, and I’m strongly considering a millipede myself. I think the live-insect feeding process was where I most often struggled with my previous pets, and having a vegetarian critter this time is appealing. (Also, they’re just cool-looking.)


Oh yeah, like the others said garden isopods are pretty great. I personally prefer males only because females produce dozens to hundreds of offspring every time they birth, and, well, one’s population can get out of control rather fast.

Also note that many isopod shops seem to be infested with weird under-researched arthropod pathogens. There’s not much way to tell if this has happened until they show symptoms (and I suspect they often remain asymptomatic).

Edit: you might want to check out Roach Crossing because of how thorough it is about avoiding isopod contamination. I don’t like the existence of isopod color mutants though; long story.

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Most “backyard” isopods are incredibly easy, low maintenance, fun to hunt for and breed out mutants (Porcellio scaber, Armadillidium vulgare and nasatum, Trachelipus rathkii, Porcellionides pruinosus/floria)

Anadenobolus, Trigoniulus, Chicobolus, and (some) Narceus are all relatively easy millipede wise, give them a box of dirt, lots of decaying wood and leaf litter, some supplemental veg and they’ll do well

Theres a lot of very easy roaches, Blaberus sp, most of the common hissers among others

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me and a friend have actually noted a “porcelain disease” that seems to be especially present in high density/urban habitat localities for some pods, some sort of fungus(?) vaguely reminiscent of a similar disease referred to as porcelain disease in crayfish and freshwater shrimp where the underside/body will look chalky

Yeah Kyle’s a great seller. Smug Bug is good too, very keen on line purity and making sure theres no disease

Isopods are probably the animals best suited for line breeding for coloration tbh, mutants crop up pretty frequently in wild populations and most if not all pods seem to be pretty resistant to the effects of inbreeding, nothing like reptiles where this sort of line breeding in big rack systems is just a recipe for godawful husbandry and sickly animals, plus you can always mix more genetic diversity into these lines (A. vulgare “Orange Vigor” was the result of red male vulgares from Alabama crossed with wild type females from Michigan, and that initial mixing of genetics seems to have given it its namesake vigor)

Arthropods…that will be insects, spiders, centipedes and other creatures with exoskeletons…crabs.
I’m currently keeping a few common butterfly caterpillars. They are in pupa stage and will emerge and fly off in a few days. The caterpillars produce a quantity of poop, which doesn’t emit a smell but may become mouldy. Donno if there is any social stigma in raising butterflies. For casual observations.

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Would you elaborate on this? I’m curious what these stress behaviors are like; I’m not really familiar with arthropod stress responses.


Non-pest roaches, millipedes, stick insects, harvestman (i.e. Vonones ornata), ants, rove beetles, freshwater crustaceans (i.e. Cambarus sp., Palaemon sp., Rhithropanopeus harrisii). All of these have the potential to be extremely low maintenance, while fascinating to observe. Personally, I really enjoy rearing the predatory taxa, but you have to make sure you have access to a reliable, safe food source. Currently, I’m keeping a tarantula and a few scorpions. It seems helpful to find carnivorous species that don’t require incessant feeding, while being resilient to a variety of humidity and temperature levels. Even if you can provide stable conditions, I’ve had some rough experiences with more specialized animals. On the other hand, I’ve had a lot of luck keeping Black Widow Spiders (Latrodectus mactans) in sealed containers. They make excellent, incredibly easy pets that are fun to watch construct webs and feed, if you respect their potential lethality.