Common Woodlouse

Common Woodlouse ©

Common woodlouse

Scientific name: Oniscus asellus
If you were to pick up a rock in the garden, you’d hopefully find a few common woodlouse. These hardy minibeasts have in-built armour and like to hide in warm, moist places like compost heaps.

Species information


Length: 1.4cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


These hardy minibeasts can be found sheltering under rocks in the garden or hiding in compost heaps, where they avoid drying out in hot weather. Common woodlice are important for their ability to feed off dead plants and creatures, recycling vital nutrients. There are 30 species of woodlouse in the UK in an array of colours from brown and grey to pink!

How to identify

The common woodlouse has smooth, shiny, grey 'armour' (an exoskeleton made up of segments or 'plates') with yellow patches and lighter grey edges.



Did you know?

Woodlice are actually terrestrial crustaceans, not insects, so are more closely related to crabs and shrimps.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.