Lil Aurora: Tips for a Healthy Terrarium

Lil Aurora knows that dry skin is very uncomfortable for humans in the wintertime. And for the amphibian and reptile residents of our homes, proper humidity levels are not merely for comfort; proper humidity is necessary.

If you own reptiles or amphibians, creating a healthy indoor environment for them is your top priority. Their enclosure needs to be the correct size as well as offer plenty of heat and light sources. There are also specific dietary requirements. But what you may not realize is that maintaining healthy humidity levels is also vital to the health and happiness of your reptilian and amphibian friends.

Just as every species has specific environmental needs, humidity requirements can vary greatly for different critters. For example, the green tree frog needs a humidity level over 65%. Most snakes need humidity levels between 50% and 70%. The humidity range for geckos falls within a wide range, depending up on the species.

These higher humidity levels more closely replicate the animals’ natural environments. Not only is it healthier for their skin, eyes, and respiration, but any amphibian or reptile that sheds its skin will need a boost in humidity levels during shedding. This is not to say that you have to keep a humidifier running constantly for their optimum health. In most of their native environments, the humidity level will fluctuate throughout the day. Running a humidifier for a set period of time is sometimes enough to keep them happy and healthy.

So how do you know that you are doing all of the right things? First, you need to research the individual requirements for your specific pet. Reptifiles.com has many care guides, blogs, and resources. It is a great place to start.

Once you have your requirements, you will need to check the humidity levels in your home, especially in the area where your pets spend most of their time. To do this, you’ll need to get a digital hygrometer, such as this one. Hygrometers measure the amount of humidity in your room. The accuracy of the hygrometer is vital! Put the hygrometer in a safe place on the cool side of your animal’s enclosure, and check the reading regularly. If your animal’s humidity levels are too low (typically below about 40%), then the humidity level in your home is probably also low. You’ll need to raise the humidity, and the best way to do this is with a humidifier.

Cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers are best for creating the humid conditions needed for pet enclosures. A compact ultrasonic humidifier, such as our AURORAmini, can easily fit inside most enclosures. Let your hygrometer be your guide for how long to let the humidifier run. Run it until you see the humidity levels rise to your desired level. Then turn off the humidifier (or add a timer to your outlet to turn your humidifier on and off throughout the day). Some evaporative humidifiers, like our TABLE-TOP, include an adjustable humidistat that will turn the humidifier off when the desired humidity level is reached. Be sure to place the humidifier toward the warmest end of the enclosure, but put the hygrometer on the coolest end of the enclosure.

PRO TIP: Some humidifiers labeled for reptiles come with hose attachments. However, if not properly installed or maintained, the hoses can develop little areas for bacteria growth. They can also be bulky and difficult to secure.

If you are unsure if you are giving enough humidity, checking the condition of your friend’s skin or scales is a good indicator. If rough, you may need to provide more humidity. You can usually tell when your scaly friend is getting ready to shed. Be sure to increase the humidity levels during shedding time (again, the level can vary depending upon the particular species). Be careful, though, as keeping the humidity level too high for extended periods of time could cause different health issues with your pet. Keep your eye on the hygrometer and adjust as needed!

As with any animal, always consult with your veterinarian. Proper care of any pet is the key to ensuring a happy and healthy life for our animal friends. Here are links to some great organizations who can help answer questions and give support for specific animal care and maintenance.

https://www.reptifiles.com/ethics-of-reptile-keeping/

https://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=2977

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Reptile-Water-Requirements/

Lil Aurora is always ready with great tips for using humidifiers. Be sure to follow her on Instagram!

OLDER NEWER
2.22.2019
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