Crested Gecko Humidity – Facts and Figures
Environmental humidity is critical for crested geckos as much as the temperature is. These lizards require a warm and humid environment to thrive, but values matter.
How humid is too humid, and why is humidity so important for your pet lizard?
Today, we’ll discuss everything to know about environmental humidity for geckos so you can craft a personalized and comfy habitat for your beloved pet lizard.
Ideal Humidity Range for Crested Geckos
The ideal humidity range for geckos is 60-80%. This value range is critical to keeping your gecko healthy and happy.
Low or high humidity levels outside the recommended limits will cause your gecko to experience discomfort, stress, and health problems that can turn deadly.
Importance of Humidity for Crested Geckos
Crested geckos require proper humidity levels to:
- Aid with shedding – Adult crested geckos (between 2 and 4 years old) shed approximately once every 2-4 weeks. Geckos older than 4 years old shed once a month. The reptile demands proper humidity levels to aid with shedding, as improper humidity can cause deadly complications during the process. Low humidity will cause the old skin to dry out and become impossible to remove, while high humidity may cause it to stick to the new one, causing infections and gangrene. Keeping humidity within the ideal range is critical for shedding geckos.
- Temperature regulation – Geckos require a proper temperature gradient, but environmental humidity plays a critical role in how the reptile’s body retains its temperature. There is a clear connection between temperature and humidity, as one will influence the other, and both will affect the reptile’s body in a similar manner.
- Drinking purposes – Geckos use to drink water from their ecosystem, collecting water droplets from the plants around them. These droplets only form as a result of misting and condensation, which is why environmental humidity is critical.
How to Increase Humidity for Crested Geckos?
If your hygrometer indicates low humidity, you need to figure out a way to increase it immediately.
Fortunately, you have several options here:
- Spraying the enclosure – This is the fastest method for a quick humidity boost. You simply spray fresh water into the reptile’s enclosure, preferably covering all of the plants and decorations. The method will both increase environmental humidity and form water droplets on plants’ leaves, so the gecko can have a freshwater source to drink. Keep in mind that humidity levels may jump to 90 or even 100% immediately after spraying the water. You should have a good ventilation system to drop the humidity to the safe zone quickly.
- A water bowl – Many gecko keepers place a water bowl in their gecko’s habitat. The water will evaporate gradually, increasing the enclosure’s humidity levels steadily throughout the day. The gecko will also have a freshwater source to drink, although most lizards prefer to collect their water from the surrounding vegetation. Don’t put too much water in the bowl if your reptile can’t swim or doesn’t like to, which is the case with most reptiles. Also, keep in mind that the water bowl method is less effective for crested geckos than it is for leopard geckos, for instance. That’s because the water will evaporate and increase environmental humidity faster when placed in the reptile’s basking area, where temperatures are higher. In a crested gecko enclosure, that area is at the top where geckos climb to rest and bask, and you can’t place a bowl there.
- Substrate and decorations – A moisture-retaining substrate is critical for increasing humidity. Soil, often combined with coconut fibers, is great in this sense. So are other decorative elements like plants, bark, moss, and natural wood like cork or oak, etc. These naturally absorbent materials retain moisture and preserve the ecosystem’s humidity levels.
- Automatic humidifiers – These are great if you don’t have time to mist and spray your gecko’s enclosure as often as you’d like. Humidifiers are less ‘aggressive’ than misters and sprayers in the sense that they don’t saturate the enclosure with water particles. Instead, they release fine particles into the air, increasing the overall humidity. This means you can’t rely solely on humidifiers, but they are great additions to a stable and humid habitat. You can turn them on, and they will maintain adequate air humidity for as long as they stay on.
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to increase environmental humidity for your geckos.
It is, however, imperative to monitor humidity constantly to prevent imbalances that could cause your gecko to experience health issues.
How to Lower Humidity for Crested Gecko?
We’ve already discussed that low humidity is dangerous for geckos, so how do we solve the problem?
Fortunately, you have quite a few options in this sense as well:
- Increase environmental ventilation – A hermetic system (for all intents and purposes, sealed) has no ventilation, which means that humidity has nowhere to escape. Increasing ventilation inside the enclosure can rapidly decrease humidity levels, depending on the ventilation method you use. You have 2 options in this sense. The first is removing the terrarium’s lid and replacing it with a breathable mesh or a similar material. The air will circulate through the material steadily, decreasing humidity levels over time. An even more effective method is placing a fan inside the enclosure. Go for a smaller piece and secure it to prevent your gecko from getting too close. The fan will increase air circulation, dissipating the atmospheric water in the process.
- Dry rice – Plain, dry rice is great at absorbing water from the surrounding environment, including the air. Prepare 1 or 2 socks filled with dry rice and place them in your gecko’s habitat. The rice will lower air humidity gradually. Expect humidity levels to drop by 5-10% within a couple of hours, depending on the terrarium’s size.
- Ceramic heater – A ceramic heater is great at reducing environmental humidity, but it will increase the temperature slightly. If you can afford the trade-off, this is a great option for you.
- Use a dehumidifier – Dehumidifiers are great for removing air moisture since they’re built specifically for that. You can purchase mini versions of room-sized models and place them in a secure spot in your reptile’s enclosure. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity and adjust the dehumidifier according to your needs.
- Lower room humidity – Your room’s overall humidity will influence the humidity levels in the gecko’s enclosure. Either reduce your room’s humidity (increase natural ventilation, use a room dehumidifier, etc.) or relocate the terrarium into a more well-ventilated room.
If humidity levels are still high, remove the live plants from your reptile’s enclosure. This alone will lower humidity levels considerably.
Problems Caused by Inadequate Humidity
We’ve already mentioned that improper humidity will hurt your gecko, but how exactly? Let’s look into it!
Crested Gecko in Low Humidity
The most obvious problem with low humidity is dehydration. Crested geckos require a humid habitat to meet their hydration needs.
If the environment is too dry, your gecko will experience stress and signs of dehydration. It won’t take long for the gecko to showcase neurological malfunction and lose its balance and grips.
The reptile may also shiver uncontrollably due to the neurons misfiring signals into the muscles. Prolonged dehydration is deadly for geckos.
Then you have the problem of overall skin dryness. Low humidity will cause the gecko’s skin to become dry, which makes the lizard more prone to skin infections and tears.
It’s a bad scenario however you would look at it.
Crested Gecko in High Humidity
Extremely high humidity comes with different consequences, but neither are positive. If the humidity is too high, your gecko risks respiratory and skin infections and even pneumonia.
This is due to the reptile inhaling too much moisture, causing excessive water accumulation in the lungs.
High humidity also promotes fungal and bacterial growth in the terrarium, which can also cause infections.
This shows the importance of proper ventilation and regular cleaning and maintenance.
Temperature is Also Important
Crested geckos require a temperature gradient that would cover the entire enclosure.
The temperature gradient refers to 2 different aspects:
- Environmental gradient – To put it simply, geckos, and reptiles in general, cannot adjust or control their body’s temperature the way mammals can. So, they rely on their habitat to regulate their internal temperature. Your gecko’s enclosure should have a temperature gradient that would include a basking area, a neutral area, and a cold area. The basking area should have temperatures between 85 and 95 F and should be located in the enclosure’s upper areas. The middle zone should be neutral, with temperatures around 75-80 F, and the cold zone, near the substrate, should be between 70-72 and 74 F. This gradient allows the reptile to migrate between different areas based on its physiological needs.
- Day/night cycle – Environmental temperature should vary between day and night to mimic the gecko’s natural conditions. The environmental temperature should sit between 69-74 F at night to provide geckos with improved comfort. This may sound too low, but it’s actually beneficial for geckos, given that their physiological functioning changes during nighttime. In other words, they require lower temperatures at night when hunting.
The temperature gradient allows geckos to remain healthy in the long run and keep their immune systems in peak condition.
Too low or too high temperatures will affect them to the point where even sudden death becomes a possibility.
Geckos aren’t particularly demanding pets, but they, too, have their unique preferences and needs.
Adjust their humidity and temperature properly, clean their enclosure regularly, and feed them a diverse diet; they won’t ask for much else.