How To Maintain the Ideal Humidity Level for Reptiles

humidity level for reptile featured photo

If you have a scaly companion, it’s important that you provide them with a comfortable and healthy environment. One important factor that plays a significant role in their health and safety is the humidity level in their habitat.

Most of them depend on warm and humid conditions. However, the proper humidity levels for reptiles vary per species. For reptiles from tropical regions like green anoles and crested geckos, high humidity is essential. But for our beardies and pond turtles, a humid condition would be overkill.

That being said, keeping the right humidity levels for our reptile friends isn’t always achievable. The good news is that there are ways to keep track of and adjust humidity based on your reptile’s needs.

Below, we’ll explore the different ways you can boost and monitor humidity levels for your pets. We’ll also give you the list of the most humidity-loving reptiles as well as a few that require more air to breathe.

How Do You Monitor Humidity Levels in Your Vivarium?

How Do You Monitor Humidity Levels in Your Vivarium

Keeping the humidity level for reptiles can help you maintain a healthy environment for these cold-blooded animals.

The best way to monitor humidity is by using a hygrometer. It’s a handy device that measures the amount of water vapor in the air. You can place this device in various spots inside the enclosure where your reptiles live. Hygrometers give you a clear reading of the humidity level in the vivarium, which is expressed in percentage.

But before you invest in one, know there are two types of hygrometers: psychrometers and mechanical hygrometers.

Psychrometer has two thermometers, one being a wet bulb and the other a dry bulb. What this type of hygrometer does is measure the change in temperature in the enclosure.

The wet bulb is wrapped in a piece of cloth, which absorbs water. When the water evaporates, the thermometer cools down. And how cool it gets will tell you the relative humidity. The dry bulb then measures the ambient temperature in the tank.

Mechanical hygrometers, on the other hand, measure changes in humidity using hair or synthetic fiber. When the humidity level changes in the reptile’s enclosure, that hair or fiber extends or contracts, moving the pointer and telling you what the current humidity level is.

When it comes to getting a hygrometer, you may also want to look for features such as a wireless sensor. This sends real-time readings to your smartphone.

Is Low Humidity Good for Reptiles?

While most reptiles do well in humid conditions, certain species don’t. Desert-dwelling reptiles like bearded dragons and leopard geckos, for example, need low humidity which mimics their habitat. Such reptiles have adapted to thrive in arid climates and need dry air to avoid respiratory problems and other health issues.

For most reptiles, however, humid conditions are important. Certain types of snakes like Amazon tree boa and rainbow boa need high levels of humidity to protect their skin. Also, keep in mind that snakes shed their skin and they need proper hydration.

Those kinds of reptiles simply cannot handle low humidity. A reptile will lose hydration through its skin in a dry climate. This can result in dry, saggy skin. Their eyes may also look dreary and they tend to become lethargic. If you notice all these symptoms in your pet, then you’ll know they are dehydrated.

Increasing Humidity Level for Reptiles

Increasing Humidity Level for Reptiles

To protect reptiles and keep them in a healthy habitat, you need to start by boosting humidity. Depending on the species, there are different ways to improve humidity for your reptiles, including:

Water dish or mist: This is a tried-and-tested method for boosting humidity levels in any enclosure. You can place a few water dishes or spray the reptiles enclosure regularly. But don’t overdo it and you’ll want to avoid any substrate to not encourage bacterial growth.

Installing a humidifier: Most reptiles, as we’ve mentioned, need proper hydration. Placing a humidifier is a good way to encourage moisture into the air.

Adding a substrate: Go for coconut fiber or orchid bar. Having these substrates in place also makes your reptile’s enclosure look more like its natural habitat. Avoid using paper or sand as they’re not great at holding moisture. Also, make sure to change the substrate regularly to avoid mold growth.

Covering: You can use a damp towel to cover the top part or any portion of your animal’s enclosure. Doing so will help retain moisture and boost humidity. Pay attention to the temperature and humidity to keep your reptiles from overheating.

Some Reptiles Don’t Like Humidity

While most reptiles need warm and humid conditions, some of them prefer lower humidity levels. Such reptiles are usually those from arid regions that have evolved to adapt to drier conditions. Whichever species of reptile you have, it’s important to provide them a basking spot in the terrarium.

Below are a few examples of reptiles that thrive well in low humidity.

Reptile SpeciesIdeal Humidity RangeAverage Basking TemperatureAverage Cooling Temperature
Bearded Dragon35-40%104-107°F71-77°F
Corn Snake40-50%88-92°F75-82°F
Leopard Gecko30-40%90-95°F75-80°F
Mojave Rattlesnake10-30%90-110°F65-85°F
Pond Turtles10-30%90-110°F65-85°F
Rubber Boa30-50%90-100°F65-85°F

What Reptile Needs the Highest Humidity?

Many reptiles need proper hydration to be able to survive in the environment they live in. Certain lizards and snakes, for example, can thrive in high humidity levels. For more examples of reptiles that like high humidity, check out the table below.

Reptile SpecieIdeal Humidity Range
Amazon Tree Boa80-90%
Asian Water Monitor60-70%
Ball Python60-70%
Burmese Python50-70%
Chinese Water Dragon80%
Crested Gecko70-80%
Crocodile Skink70-90%
Day Gecko60-80%
Green Anole60-70%
Gargoyle Gecko70-80%
Green Iguana65-80%
Green Iguana65-80%
Mud Snake50-80%
Rainbow Boa70-95%
Ringneck Snake50-80%
Tokay Gecko60-80%
Veiled Chameleon50-60%

Reptile Humidity FAQs

Is 70% Humidity High for Reptiles?

It depends on the species and the environment of their habitat. In general, a 70% humidity range is considered to be high for most reptiles. Snakes that live in the desert, for example, require low humidity levels. Reptiles who live in the rainforest like geckos will do well in high humidity.

Is 70% Humidity Too High for a Bearded Dragon?

Bearded dragons thrive well in arid regions, so a 50% humidity range will be too high for them. The relative humidity for their habitat should be kept between 35 and 40%. This range mimics their natural environment, comparable to the hot, dry inland geographical regions of Australia where bearded dragons come from.

How Do You Dehumidify a Terrarium?

Most reptiles need humid conditions for their health and safety. If you live in a tropical country, the air tends to get damp. The same thing happens inside your the reptile tank. If it gets too warm, your animals can overheat and die.

And when there is a rise in temperature in the enclosure, the air will hold more moisture. This can make a reptile catch pneumonia.

You may need to lessen the amount of water vapor that’s present in your enclosure. For glass enclosures, you’ll want to provide as much ventilation as possible since it will hold more humidity when the temperature rises. You can also cover that enclosure with a screen on top to let just enough air in.

If there’s a pool or a misting system in your terrarium, consider limiting the frequency at which it’s used. This will keep the environment at a comfortable humidity range without over-drying it.

Finally, one of the best ways to dehumidify is by installing a dehumidifier.

How Do I Control the Humidity in My Reptile Tank?

The ideal relative humidity in a reptile’s tank is crucial for its health and well-being. For reptiles and amphibians from desert-like environments, increasing the humidity level is important to hydrate their scales and help with shedding.

They also need heat. It helps them with their biological processes including food digestion and fighting against diseases.

To increase humidity levels, you can place a substrate that retains moisture like pulverized coconut husk, cypress mulch, and orchid bark. Placing a bowl of room-temperature water in the enclosure and some lighting also do wonders.

You can also mist some water but don’t overdo it as it can encourage bacterial growth. This could also lead to respiratory problems among your reptiles. Make sure to keep the enclosure covered to keep humidity or water vapor from escaping.

Another way to increase humidity levels is by using a humidifier. Installing a hygrometer will also help you monitor the humidity levels in your tank.


Reptiles require humidity to keep them comfortable and healthy. It’s also your responsibility to give your pet reptiles a suitable environment that meets their needs. Monitor and regulate the humidity level in their enclosure and do a lot of research. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a vet.

In the meantime, hope you find this post useful in keeping your reptile safe and healthy. Achieving the right humidity level is not always achievable, but with the right measures and tools, your animal should be able to enjoy a comfortable environment under your care.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about our topic. Good luck!

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