Quick facts

Common name(s): common rough woodlouse

Scientific name: Porcellio scaber

Family: crustaceans

Habitat: almost anywhere dark and damp

Predators: spiders, birds, reptiles, amphibians

Origin: native

What do common rough woodlice look like?

These woodlice are oval shaped with light grey dimpled exoskeletons. Their bodies are made of seven segments with a pair of legs per segment. The young are small and white.

Length: 1.5 centimetres

What do common rough woodlice eat?

The common rough woodlouse is not picky. It eats deadwood, leaf litter, dead animals, fungi, fruit and even its own faeces.

How do common rough woodlice breed?

Female woodlice carry their eggs on their underside. When the eggs hatch, the juveniles stay with their mother for a few months until they mature.

Each female can have up to three clutches of between 12 and 36 eggs per year.

Did you know?

Woodlice don’t wee, they release ammonia gas instead. This means they can smell quite bad in groups, earning them local names like ‘stinky pigs’.

Where to find common rough woodlice

The common woodlouse is abundant and widespread in the UK.

Credit: Antje Schulte / Alamy Stock Photo

Signs and spotting tips

Woodlice look for food at night and hide in rotting wood and under rocks during the day. Gently lift stones in woods and gardens to see if there are any woodlice hiding underneath.

They stay in cool places because they are very prone to drying out.

Threats and conservation

The common rough woodlouse is not currently considered under threat in the UK.

Trees woods and wildlife


Dead and decaying wood is one of any woodland's most important microhabitats. Learn more about why we need more of it, as well as the rare and endangered beetles, colourful fungi and other threatened wildlife that relies on it.

Discover deadwood