The bearded dragons require a warm and humid environment to survive. Being inhabitants of warm areas, they are used to warm temperatures and humid weather; and require the same in captivity. However, the bearded dragons need a specific humidity level to keep them safe and healthy; crossing the line would only make things worse for you and your beardie.
Bringing a bearded dragon home is not easy; the reptile is tough to handle sometimes if you don’t have enough knowledge about it. So, it’s better to monitor the humidity in the enclosure to keep your reptile well settled. You can do this by measuring and recording the humidity level in the tank of the bearded dragon.
The readings can be observed using a hygrometer and checking the bearded dragon’s behavior at all times to ensure the exact amount of humidity required.
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Ideal humidity for bearded dragon
As aforementioned, the bearded dragons are residents of warm regions of Australia, and hence in captivity, the humidity level should be the same. The humidity level can be maintained as per the requirement by using a humidity checker or a hygrometer, as they are intolerant to high or very low humidity levels.
In captivity, the enclosure of a bearded dragon must be maintained to be the closest to nature. The humidity level closest to the environment that bearded dragons come from is 30 to 40 percent. This humidity level will keep you happy and healthy, just like they were in the wild. The humidity level above this range can cause health issues in your pet which includes respiratory problems.
How can humidity hurt your bearded dragon?
It’s essential to maintain the humidity level inside the bearded dragon’s tank, as they need a relatively small amount of it. Higher humidity levels can cause respiratory issues such as infection, which may seriously affect the health of your bearded dragon. Moreover, the lower or higher humidity levels can affect the process of skin shedding.
These problems can affect the overall health of the bearded dragon and can shorten the lifespan of the beardie in the long run. Therefore, it’s necessary to monitor the temperature and humidity of the enclosure.
The best way to monitor humidity
A hygrometer is the best option to measure the humidity level of the environment around. Before you plan to bring a bearded dragon home, you must set up an enclosure that possibly mimics nature. The enclosure must have a balanced temperature per the bearded dragon’s requirement and a humidity level between 30-40 percent. The hygrometer serves the purpose here by measuring the number of water droplets in the air, i.e., the water vapors in the air.
The humidity level can be well adjusted with the help of this gauge, measuring the water vapors and temperature ratio. There are two options for measuring humidity, two types of hygrometers that you can select.
2. Mechanical Hygrometer
A psychrometer consists of two thermometers for measuring the temperature and humidity inside the enclosure. There are two bulbs inside this gauge, a wet bulb and a dry bulb, which measure the number of water vapors and the heat inside the enclosure, respectively.
The psychrometer works by measuring the changing temperature from one bulb to another.
This type of humidity checker measures the level of humidity with the help of hair or fibers. The fibers can show you the number of water vapors in the air, whereas some can even measure the moisture by using sensors instead of any fibers. These sensors can be tracked with your phone’s help to keep the humidity level in order.
What happens if the humidity is too high?
The excess of anything can be a poison to the life of a particular living being. Although maintaining a specific humidity level is crucial, the high humidity levels have an adverse effect on the lives of bearded dragons. Excess water vapors in the air can cause difficulty in breathing and consequently a respiratory infection or any other problem, which can shorten the lifespan of the bearded dragon.
To keep the bearded dragon happy and healthy, monitor the humidity levels closely and vigilantly. This will help to avoid respiratory issues and other health issues which can be caused because of raised levels of humidity.
How to Lower Humidity in a bearded dragon?
It is often tricky to keep a bearded dragon because of maintaining proper levels of heat and humidity. The humidity levels keep changing; however, by any chance, if the level of humidity increases, it can be handled in a number of ways.
If you observe that humidity has become more than what’s required, try normalizing the humidity levels by simply ventilating the tank. Increased ventilation can lower the humidity of the tank.
Ventilation will allow the excess water vapors to escape from the enclosure, regulating the humidity levels inside the tank.
Open a window
The level of humidity raises if there is water trapped inside a warm room. Since the bearded dragon’s cage is warm enough, the water inside can result in increased levels of humidity. This situation can be balanced by opening a window and letting the warm and humid air escape the room or enclosure.
This situation, however, might not work if the temperature outside the enclosure or the room is cold, or the environment is as humid as it is inside the room. In these two cases, the humidity levels remain unchanged.
Change the tank cover.
If you see that the level of humidity is rising in the tank, try changing its cover. Ensure that the tank’s cover has ventilators or a window for the warm air to escape. Furthermore, the tank cover must not be made of material to absorb the moisture or trap it inside the tank.
It’s good to use a mesh cover to avoid any of these situations and provide a proper ventilation system inside the enclosure.
Change the bedding and decorations.
The humidity level inside the enclosure can also be maintained by changing the bedding and decorations inside the tank. You need to make sure that the substrate or other furniture of the bearded dragon must not be made out of a material that absorbs or traps moisture. The materials that have the ability to absorb the humidity are bark or coconut fiber; avoid using these to keep the humidity level intact.
Sand and newspaper are the best replacements that can be kept inside the enclosure. These two can help to maintain the level of humidity too. Living plants can also raise the humidity level in the tank; this can be handled by using artificial plants instead of real ones. Check our list of safe plants for a bearded dragon enclosure.
Using a Mesh top
A mesh top helps lower the humidity level of the tank instantly. The mesh can help in ventilation and provides enough space for the water vapors to escape. However, make sure to use proper locking for the mesh top, as the bearded dragons might climb on the walls and make their way outside if the top is not locked correctly.
Increase basking temperature
One way to lower the humidity in the enclosure is by raising the temperature inside the tank. This will decrease the moisture inside the tank by burning the water vapors. However, it can only work in coordination with the mesh top. Without the mesh top, the water vapors will get stuck inside the enclosure, making the situation even worse.
Move the water bowl away from the heat source
It’s recommended to keep the water bowl inside the bearded dragon enclosure, even though the bearded dragon never drinks from it; the water can sometimes be utilized for bathing the bearded dragon. This bowl of water in the specific heat of the enclosure can cause the humidity level to rise from the normal range.
This can be controlled by moving the water dish or bowl away from the UVB light and into a cooler area that can be the hiding spot of the bearded dragon or removing the water bowl from the tank for some time. Ensure to check the bowl’s depth and size, the bowl must not be very large to drown the dragon in it, and neither should it be small enough.
A medium or small bowl of water can help keep the humidity in control inside the bearded dragon terrarium.
Switch a different substrate
Substrates such as bark and coconut have a high tendency to absorb moisture and raising the level of humidity in the tank. To avoid this situation, you can use sand and newspaper as the substrates, as they do not absorb moisture and have no adverse effects on your bearded dragon’s health. See our post on best bearded dragon substrates.
Stop misting until the humidity is under control.
The bearded dragon doesn’t recognize still water and will never drink from the dish of water, which makes the water provision to the beardie more interesting and technical. One way to provide water is through misting, which can often raise the humidity in the tank.
If you see the level of humidity raised in the psychrometer, you need to stop misting for some time. This will help balance the water vapors in the air inside the enclosure and bring the humidity back to normal.
Try a dehumidifier
At times, the techniques mentioned earlier fail to lower the humidity level of the enclosure; at this, the dehumidifier can lower the humidity level. It’s possible to reduce the humidity even without using a dehumidifier, yet, sometimes it’s essential to use one.
The humidity doesn’t decrease if the moisture level outside the tank is the same as inside the tank or in a comparatively cooler area. In this case, the humidifier is used to do the deed.
How to Increase humidity in a bearded dragon’s tank?
As the humidity increase, the decrease in the level of humidity level of the tank is not suitable for the bearded dragon’s health. This can be monitored by checking the readings on the hygrometer and should be addressed on time to avoid health issues in the bearded dragon. The level of humidity, in this case, needs to be raised immediately to bring it to be normal.
There are several ways to raise the humidity level of the tank and can be easily implemented; these methods are listed below.
Place their water near the hot side of the tank
The water bowl that you place inside the tank for the bearded dragon’s use can be used to regulate the humidity in the tank. Place the water bowl under the UVB light; this will help form water vapors, which will consequently raise the humidity level inside the tank.
It’s important to know where you can place the water bowl for the best results. The desired amount can be attained by testing different spots and choosing the best to give the optimal results.
Mist more Frequently
When coming across the situation of lower humidity level, the bearded dragon in the wild moves out to the water areas, where they can bask and can acquire the desired humidity, however, in captivity, this has to be managed by the owner.
Misting the tank more frequently can help resolve this problem efficiently and keep the pet well hydrated. If you see the humidity level getting lower in the tank, try misting the tank more often, and watch how quickly it balances the humidity level. Ensure to use dechlorinated and purified water for this purpose. Furthermore, you may also try using an automatic misting system to avoid this problem.
Add plants to their habitats
Plants have a significant role in balancing the humidity level of the enclosure, as they add additional moisture to the environment. As soon as you see the needle hitting the level of dryness of your beardie’s tank, you may try placing some plants inside the tank to balance the environment. Furthermore, they can easily be moved out after attaining the required amount of humidity.
After knowing the importance of heat and humidity, you must have realized how important it is to keep the humidity level intact and balanced. Keep a strict check on the humidity level checker; a hygrometer or psychrometer can be used to do so.
The level of humidity inside the enclosure must be around 30-40 percent. Anywhere above this can cause respiratory and health problems in your bearded dragon. This can be normalized by reducing the misting in the tank, moving the water bowl away from the UVB light using a dehumidifier.
Lower levels of humidity can result in a bad shed and other health issues. If the humidity is below the average level, try misting more frequently, placing the water bowl near the light, and adding plants to the enclosure for adding moisture in the environment.
Ensure that the home is all prepared before you walk in with the bearded dragon; this will reduce the stress level of your beardie and help it adjust in the environment easily.