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Wild and Wacky! How to Take Care of a Pet Trilobite

Updated on August 23, 2017

What if you have to take care of this crazy animal?

Trilobites are prehistoric animals that lived in the Paleozoic era (that's the time before the dinosaurs. More on this later). They're creepy creatures that feed off the sea ground. But....what if you just bought one from the prehistoric pet shop? What would happen? Find out how to take care of this weird creature in this lens!

The Paleozoic Era

The Trilobite's Time

Before we get on to trilobites, we must find out about the time that the trilobites lived in- the Paleozoic Era.

The Paleozoic Era is time of the super-ancient life. This was before the dinosaurs (they lived in the Mesozoic Era- just next to the Paleozoic).

Each eras are divided into 'geologic periods'. You may have heard of Jurassic- that's one geologic period in the Mesozoic Era.

The Paleozoic Era is divided into the: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian.. Trilobites came into the existence at the Cambrian period, which is the first period in the Paleozoic Era.

If you're wondering, the time before the Paleozoic Era is called the Precambrian Era. This era is the longest time on Earth, but very little is known about it. Anyway, we won't spend too much time on it, because the only life that existed is blobs of bacteria.

In the Cambrian period, no life were on land. Not even trees. Why? That's because the Earth's atmosphere wasn't fully developed yet. There was too much harmful radiation, so anything that went on land would had been roasted. Instead, Earth life developed in the oceans so that they wouldn't become barbecued. Life only started to come up in the middle Paleozoic period, with plants as the first daredevils, and amphibians following.

What are Trilobites?

In case you don't know yet!

Trilobites are hard-shelled creatures that lived in the Paleozoic Era. No description will be good enough, so look at the picture.

Yep, they will remind you of horseshoe crabs. Trilobites lived in the ocean floors and beds. You can find em' in all kinds of ocenas- from shallow seas to ocean reefs to deep ocean bottoms to free-floating forms!

Trilobites are classified as arthropods. At first they were considered PRIMITIVE, but after some time of research, they are now considered relatively advanced of the Cambrian arthropods.

Wait....this lens is turning into an encyclopedia. NO, NO! This is supposed to be a SquidPaws lens. So let's start off with Trilobite Body Parts (so that you don't feed food its legs!)

Trilobite Size and Body Parts

A cool thing to know about

Trilobites come in all shapes and sizes. Some are no longer than an inch, but some are as big as 70 cm!

Here are the main parts of the trilobite (refer to picture too) :

The celaphon is, basically, the head. It has the eyes and mouthparts of the trilobite. It also has the trilobite's antennae. The thorax is the trilobite's body, while the pygidium is, well, the tail or the bottom.

Here's one awesome thing: trilobites have sophisticated eyes. They are one of the first animals to have this.

Trilobite Tank

How to set it up!

No pet shop will have information on this, so make sure you read this part carefully!

As we've talked about before, trilobites live in the ocean floor (well, most of them). There haven't been any fresh water trilobites discovered yet, so to play safe, give them sea water.

An important thing that they will need is SAND. Yep, just like any fish tank. They like to conceal themselves from predators, and anyway, sand's probably better to crawl on than any glass bottom, right? You want your trilobite to be happy!

To decorate, you may want to put in some coral and sponges. Seaweed would be nice too (see FEEDING).

I recommend you not to put in any fish, because we don't know how modern fish would react to prehistoric trilobites.


I'm sure your local pet shop don't supply trilobite pellets. Here's what to feed 'em...

IF your trilobite is a HERBIVORE

Feed it some small patches of algae!

IF your trilobite is a PARTICLE-FEEDER

Feed it some small patches of algae too, or some plankton.

IF your trilobite is a CARNIVORE

Feed it worms. Trilobite trails are found to stop at worm burrows.

Try all of them, because it's quite hard to tell what kind of diet your trilobite is in.

Do you think trilobites are cute?

They are. Or are they?

Do you think trilobites are cute!

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Anomalocaris. URGH!
Anomalocaris. URGH!

Trilobite Predators

Some creatures to make sure are out of your tank

Although trilobites developed a hard exoskeleton to protect it from predators and environmental changes, I guess it hurts to be bitten by prehistoric animals. Here's some stuff to keep out:


These look like squids stuck into a shell.

-Sea Scorpions (Eurypterids)

Quite hard to explain....they're, well, sea scorpions.


This HORRIBLE predator lived in the Cambrian period. It was quite large (about half a meter!) It can swallow trilobites WHOLE. Some trilobite fossils have been found with wounds on their shells. This is probably a bite from an Anomalocaris (who went to the dentist because of his toothache, hahaha).

Trilobite Extinction

Trilobites lived throughout the whole Paleozoic Era. Sadly, they soon become extinct (along with half of the Earth's species) at the end of the Permian period, marking the end of the Paleozoic Era and the start of the Mesozoic Era. Today, no one knows what caused the mass extinction at the end of the Paleozoic.

The trilobites can be said to have 'ruled' the oceans, because at that time they were as common as fish! To see them become extinct is probably a very sad thing.

What a sad story.

Want to know more? - Get this awesome book!

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution
Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution

"Trilobites--woodlicelike creatures that dominated the world's oceans long before the time of the dinosaurs--are, arguably, the most beautiful animals that have ever been chipped out of the fossil record. Fortey certainly seems to think so. His enthusiastic, almost loving explanations of the anatomy, ecology, and long evolutionary history of these fascinating vanished creatures carry the reader on an inspirational journey into the Earth's distant past. But the book is much more than a technical treatise on trilobites. We learn about Fortey himself, his formative years as an amateur then professional paleontologist, about his much-loved teachers and colleagues, and above all, about that strange but addictive pastime known as science. You may not find arthropods as charming as Fortey does, but you will not fail to be charmed by the author. A delightful read." -Chris Lavers,


Do you like trilobites?

Share your thoughts!

Do you like trilobites?

I think they're cool. What about you?

What do you think of trilobites?

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    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 6 years ago from Covington, LA

      A very unique dinosaur lens. Sprinkled with dust from the Angel of the farmyard on a Back to school field trip.

    • profile image

      aeckley 6 years ago

      Well I definitely know more about trilobites now than I did this morning when I awoke.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 7 years ago

      Interesting idea.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 7 years ago

      Very cleaver pet lens. I usually write about cats.

    • profile image

      pomme99 7 years ago

      Very creative topic actually. I've never thought of have a pre-historic pet before. This shows me how to think out of the box, great work!

    • cleverwomanposter profile image

      cleverwomanposter 7 years ago

      Now that was some pretty interesting information! Very clever lens angle you had.