Reptile Care Basics: Controlling Humidity

Reptile Care Basics: Controlling Humidity

We’ve all experienced those days where the humidity is just not right outside. Whether it was too dry and cracked our skin or it was so wet it felt like wading through a bog. We all have a preference on what sort of humidity we are okay with and our reptiles are no different. Humidity is one of the basic care items that you need to know in order to properly care for your pet reptiles.

What is humidity?

 

Humidity
In scientific terms, it is the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (or in the air around us.) For humans, too much humidity or too little causes problems. A high level of humidity actually reduces the effectiveness of our sweat to cool us down. In reptiles, a humidity level that is too low causes shedding issues.

Determining the Level of Humidity Needed

The required humidity level depends exclusively on your reptile’s species. For example, Bearded Dragons need a humidity level between 35 and 40 percent. On the other hand, Electric Blue Geckos need humidity levels to be between 60 and 80 percent. Too little humidity will dehydrate your reptile, cause shedding issues, and so on. Too much humidity can cause respiratory infections in some species. Always do your research to determine the correct humidity levels for your reptile.

Measuring Humidity Levels in your Cage

2-in-1 Hygrometer/Thermometer

 

You will need to check the humidity level in your cages every day to make sure that the humidity is staying around where it needs to be. A Hygrometer is an absolutely necessary requirement for any reptile set up. There are some made specifically for reptile cages, but many of them aren’t that great. It’s possible to buy digital ones with probes that work a bit better. Make sure you check the humidity a couple of times a day. If they are off, you may need to do something to either lower or raise the humidity.

Raising the Humidity

Mistking Starter Misting System

Mistking Starter Misting System – I use this with my Alligator Lizard.

There are a number of different options available to keep the humidity level in your cage up, or to raise it. First, having live plants in your cage is a big help. Water can get trapped by the plants keeping the humidity up higher for longer. Next, you can use a substrate such as Coconut Fiber, Soil, Peat Moss, or Sphagnum Moss. Each of these does a good job of maintaining humidity in a cage. Another option is to spray your cage a couple of times each day. This will moisten the substrate, any plants, and decorations. There are automated systems available as well.  You can just set up the nozzles, program the timer, and then you just need to check the humidity each day to make sure it’s working right.

Lowering the Humidity

Dehumidifier
This one can be a bit more difficult depending on where you live. I live in a very humid state so it can be a pain getting the humidity levels low enough for my geckos. One option is to purchase a dehumidifier for the area you keep your reptiles in. It’s important to also make sure that your reptile’s cage has proper ventilation, this can lower the humidity as well. A second option is to use a little bag filled with something like rice and tape it to the side of your reptile’s tank. This can absorb some of the humidity but it doesn’t last very long. There are bags like this available for purchase, but you need to make sure your reptile can’t get to it.

Conclusion

The most important thing you need to do is research your reptile before purchasing it. You are not ready to own the reptile if you don’t know something like what humidity level it needs. Humidity can be relatively simple to keep in check though once you have your system set up. Just always remember to keep an eye on it!

Have any questions? Leave a comment below!

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