5 Easy Ways to Control Humidity in a Reptile Enclosure

Estimated Read 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, maintaining humidity isn’t that difficult. You just need proper the tools and expertise.

So let’s get into it.

5 Simple Steps to Maintaining Humidity

Humidity maintenance for a reptile is an ongoing process, but retaining humidity is almost hassle-free with the right tools in place. Here are 5 quick and affordable ways to raise or lower humidity to the most comfortable level.

  • Choose the Right Substrate
  • Provide Water Dishes
  • Mist Inside the Enclosure
  • Use a Humidifier
  • Add Live Plants

1. Choose the Right Substrate

close up view of coconut fiber 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 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 better used for retaining heat, not moisture.

2. Provide Water Dishes

Vision Cages for Large Snakes

While these may be required for your reptile’s drinking water, water dishes also contribute to the humidity.

Evaporation due to internal light and heat creates a more moist and comfortable environment for a tropic-loving reptile. And for the healthiest pet, clean and refill the water dishes once a day.

If the humidity is a little high, remove one of the bowls, or use a smaller one. Water bowls give off more moisture than you’d think, so a smaller one could move the needle just enough in the right direction.

Check out our water bowls! We have options for large snakes, small geckos, and everything in between.

3. Mist Inside the Enclosure

misting with a spray bottle

If you find that humidity isn’t being maintained naturally, use a standard spray bottle filled with dechlorinated water to mist in 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.

Consider using a reptile-specific humidifier, like the Repti Fogger, in cases where humidity is lacking, especially in larger enclosures.

Easily adjust the mist output and let automation take care of maintaining your reptile’s humidity!

5. Add Live Plants

bioactive enclosure with colorful plants and decor

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 may also rest a hygrometer on the substrate, in or near their hide, to ensure that moisture is reaching it.
  • Terrestrial Enclosure: Include 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.


Test out the methods above. Every habitat is different, so while some handlers mist in the enclosure daily, others may benefit most from a different substrate or adding a water bowl.

After you make any adjustments, monitor your hygrometer regularly so you know how much the humidity changes, and for how long.

Humidity maintenance can be a simple process if you have the proper tools and knowledge. Always research and understand your specific reptile’s needs; Only then can you provide them with the optimal environment.