Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
How important is humidity in a reptile enclosure?
If the humidity is too high, your pet may catch skin infections, pneumonia, and other respiratory issues. An enclosure that’s too dry may also cause respiratory infections, skin issues, and dehydration.
Long story short, enclosure humidity is essential for reptile health.
Fortunately, keeping humidity at the required level isn’t that difficult. You just need proper the tools and expertise.
So let’s get into it.
5 Simple Steps to Maintaining Humidity
Maintaining humidity is an ongoing process. We recommend checking the level daily to prevent any of the aforementioned health issues.
That said, with the right tools in place, retaining humidity can be almost hassle-free. Here are 5 easy and affordable ways to raise and lower humidity to a comfortable level.
1. Choose the Right Substrate
Substrates can significantly impact the humidity in a reptile enclosure.
If your reptile’s natural habitat is a tropical region, a substrate like ReptiBark may work well. This hydroscopic substrate is made from the bark of fir trees, making it hydroscopic and excellent at retaining moisture.
For dessert-dwelling reptiles, low humidity is required and your substrate should reflect that. ReptiSand, for example, is a sand-based substrate that helps retain heat but doesn’t retain moisture.
2. Provide a Water Dish
While this may be required for your reptile’s drinking water, a water dish also contributes to the humidity.
Evaporation from the cage’s light and heat creates more moisture in the air and a comfortable environment for a tropic-loving reptile. And for the healthiest pet, we recommend cleaning and refilling the water dishes once a day.
If the humidity is too high, however, try using a smaller bowl. Water bowls give off more moisture than you’d think, so a smaller one could solve that.
We offer water bowls for large snakes, small geckos, and everything in between.
3. Mist Inside the Enclosure
Is the humidity dropping below a certain level? Use a standard spray bottle filled with dechlorinated water to mist the enclosure.
This is a tried and true method for increasing humidity. Simply spray around the entire enclosure once daily or as needed.
Also, if using a spray bottle, you can mist your reptile directly for a little more hydration on their skin.
4. Use a Humidifier
Manually misting the enclosure will increase humidity, but it may not get you to your goal alone.
In cases where humidity is lacking, especially in larger enclosures, consider using a reptile-specific humidifier.
You can easily adjust the mist output and let automation take care of maintaining your reptile’s humidity!
5. Add Live Plants
Incorporating live plants into the enclosure can help increase humidity naturally. Simply put, plants release moisture through transpiration, which contributes to the overall humidity.
Living plants also naturally filter the air, providing your reptile with more moisture and cleaner air. Just make sure that the plants you choose are safe for your pet and won’t harm them if ingested.
Measuring the Humidity in a Reptile Enclosure
It’s hard to judge the exact humidity by feel alone. And since reptiles are so sensitive to moisture, it’s important to get an accurate reading, every time.
First off, you’ll need a reptile hygrometer, like the one pictured above, to measure the exact humidity.
But depending on the size and layout of an enclosure, the number and placement of the hygrometers may differ:
Arboreal Enclosure: Attach a humidity monitor to the middle of an interior wall. Handlers will often zip-tie or hot glue them in place. You should also rest a hygrometer on the substrate, in or near their hide, to ensure that moisture is reaching it.
Terrestrial Enclosure: Since a terrestrial reptile won’t be elevated too often, you need a hygrometer that rests on the substrate near the middle of the enclosure. And for the most accurate reading, it never hurts to include another hygrometer in their hide.
Remember, reptile species have varying humidity requirements. Always research and understand the specific needs of your specific reptile; Only then can you provide them with the optimal environment.
By following these steps, you can maintain and increase humidity in your reptile enclosure, promoting a healthier and more comfortable habitat for your beloved pet.