Founded in 2017, Roly Poly Ranch started when Mark Eastburn, the founder (and reptile enthusiast), saw his first clown isopod (a.k.a. Armadillidium klugii ver. "Montenegro"). A science teacher who had previously worked with isopods in classroom settings, it was the clown isopod--and shortly thereafter the "rubber ducky"--that led Mark to start raising isopods in his home. From there, his collection expanded to more than 40 species and color morphs, and the rest of his family has gotten involved in their care. When you purchase from Roly Poly Ranch, you can be assured that we always strive for the highest-quality customer service, and all of our isopods are healthy and captive-bred.
In addition to his career as a science teacher, Mark Eastburn is a writer and author of the children's novel Earning My Spots, about a boy who shapeshifts into a hyena. He is represented by the Liza Royce Agency in New York. Nature has always been a subject of ongoing fascination, and Mark always strives to connect students with the natural world. Isopods are a great vehicle for all sorts of life science instruction, from adaptation to selection to predator evasion strategies.
Mark earned his graduate degree studying jumping spiders in Central America, where one species, Bagheera kiplingi, subsides on a primarily-vegetarian diet. His study of ant-plant systems led to the discovery of a second spider species, Frigga crocuta (pictured above), living within an ant-plant mutualism.