Humidity, and humid hides

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Susann
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Humidity, and humid hides

Postby Susann » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:43 pm

Lots of people are asking about humidity and substrate lately, so I thought I'd put up a picture of my humid hide. I prefer humid hides over keeping the substrate in the whole tank wet, as this way you aren't forcing your skink to be on damp ground all the time --you are giving him the OPTION to go where the conditions are right for him.

These are the humid hides I use for my little babies:

IMG_6297 (2).JPG


I put some big rocks in the bottom to add some weight (rocks big enough that they in no way could swallow them), so the container doesn't tip over when skinks are crawling in and out of them. Then a pretty thick layer of moss.
I keep the hide as close to the heat source as I can (depends on the tank where I end up putting them) --in the baby tanks they are right under the CHE, so the top of the container doubles as a basking platform. I have a temp gun that I use A LOT to make sure the temps both inside and on top aren't too high.

My babies seem to all prefer the humid hide over other hides, even though these are see-through and the others I give them (both warm and cool) would seemingly give them better "coverage".

These are Ziplock's small, disposable containers, but the same concept is used for adults as well; any bigger plastic container with a lid should work as long as you can cut an opening into it.

I'd love to see what you use; please post pictures!
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Susann » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:01 pm

Edit: we had a member point out that I made it sound like humid hide and spraying were the only two options; he was right, but deleted his comment while I was responding, not wanting to sound confrontational.
...just so you know why I made this post
:wink:

We can for sure make this thread about ways to increase humidity, because you're right, there are more ways to do it.

The most common one is to spray or mist the enclosure. Puts moisture directly into the air and moistens the top layer of the substrate. As the heat source heats up the substrate, the water evaporates, or "dries", off the substrate and enters the air.
The more you spray/wet, the more water there is available to humidify the air, but, like has been mentioned, it is not necessarily good to wet down the substrate in the entire tank beyond just slightly moist, especially if your skink is have issues with inflammation.

If your tank has a mesh top, you can buy a room humidifier and aim the humidity at the tank.

You can buy a fogger or mister that puts humidity straight into the tank.

A large water bowl, or adding an extra water bowl to the warm side, does humidify the air, but for skinks with far progressed issues, this is generally not enough.

A cigar humidifier basically does the same thing as the water bowl --you are adding a source or moisture to evaporate into the air. No need to buy an expensive one either; just go to your local supermarket and get a suction cup sponge holder, like this:
aaa sd2.jpg
aaa sd.jpg

Place it on the wall next to your heat source and keep it moist.

And, humid hides.

If you can think of something else, please inform us :D
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby superfirepython » Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:18 am

Image
Image

I don't have a humid hide but I have a humid "side" :) organic soil on the opposite side of his hot spot and a live spider plant he hasn't killed (yet... lol)
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Dakota » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:19 am

I did similar, superfirepython. However, being the skinks they are, it only lasted for a few months. Now the moss has broken down to almost the level of "peat" mixed in with the bark - which I like. It is not as fine as peat moss you buy at the stores, but they definitely are very small pieces. I do similar with my group of Ophisaurus, too. One side of the cage has very dry soil, but the other is very damp.
humid.jpg

I mainly just limit the ventilation and offer large water bowls. The humidity in my tubs stay at a constant 80%. I keep a fan in my skink room to make sure the air doesn't stay stagnant. Every few days I sorta "fan" out the air in the cage to make double sure it isn't too stagnant.

Cool post, Susann. I wonder how else people manage to maintain humidity. Also, have you tried the sponge idea, or is it theoretical? How effective is it? I am thinking about doing something similar for my tote enclosures that have no top.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Susann » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:12 pm

Dakota wrote:have you tried the sponge idea, or is it theoretical? How effective is it?

I haven't tried it myself because I have my MistKing humidifiers spraying each tank, but others have reported good success with it...
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby TPceebee » Tue Apr 19, 2016 2:09 am

I can't post any pictures as I've not got internet for a month :bad: but I also have a humid 'side'. I tried giving my skink a humid hide, but for whatever reason he decided to try and eat the spaghnum moss... A few weeks later I switched from aspen to coco husk and orchid bark as he was constantly getting dry tummy scales and added a pile of spaghnum moss close to the cold end of his viv. I keep it fairly dry in there still, since he's a Northern, but there seems to be a range of 35 to 55% roughly. I previously tried using the sponge in the holder but it didn't really make a significant difference to the humidity levels.

I cleaned his viv out recently and had to wait a couple of days for the spagnum moss to come....I've not seen him since I put the moss back in there. He's having way to much sleepy time under all that moss where I can't find him XD
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:28 pm

Hi again guys. So I have a question. My new guys enclosure humidity ranges from 25-30%. His scales seem fine and he seems to be doing well. So do I need to add a humid hide? If so do I place it on the cool side or hot or even in the middle? Help!

Thanks

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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby alichamp » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:56 pm

Janella, as I understand it, skinks that need humidity being kept in chronic low humidity in the long term are likely to develop serious illness and infections if not addressed (see threads here and here). That's why several of us have suggested you change over from aspen to another substrate as an easy step to help improve humidity. Susann's tips on keeping Meraukes suggest humidity at least 50%.

But if you want to change substrate next time instead of chucking out what you have now, Susann suggested on your thread to make a humid hide.
Susann wrote:An easy way to make sure he has access to the humidity he needs, without changing out your substrate, is to make a humid hide. Take a container he will fit in nicely, cut an opening in it, and fill it with moisture-holding material --I like sphagnum moss because it is mold resistant as well; put it near whatever you use for a heat source, so it becomes like a little warm sauna in there. :)

She was also quite descriptive in the opening post above.
Susann wrote:I put some big rocks in the bottom to add some weight (rocks big enough that they in no way could swallow them), so the container doesn't tip over when skinks are crawling in and out of them. Then a pretty thick layer of moss.
I keep the hide as close to the heat source as I can (depends on the tank where I end up putting them) --in the baby tanks they are right under the CHE, so the top of the container doubles as a basking platform. I have a temp gun that I use A LOT to make sure the temps both inside and on top aren't too high.

My babies seem to all prefer the humid hide over other hides, even though these are see-through and the others I give them (both warm and cool) would seemingly give them better "coverage".


So do you need to add a humid hide?
Susann wrote:--you are giving him the OPTION to go where the conditions are right for him.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:11 pm

Okay. I apologize if I sounded dumb, but I truly want to do what is best for my guy. I have stuff to make the hide and if that doesn't work I can change the substrate. I appreciate you sending the link about the different threads to read. Things make more sense now
I have done a lot of reading and from all I read, it said 25-50% was normal and good, so that is why I asked. I am definitely still learning.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby alichamp » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:21 pm

Hey no worries. I am definitely still learning about a lot of things too. And like I've said I don't actually keep humid loving species. I just have been on the forum a little while now and these are discussed a lot because it is such an important topic. Which means I just happen to know where the threads are so happy to link to them. :wink:

And yes, there is different information out there so people often come here confused. Especially when they hear about the need for humidity that is higher than they have been told. There's talk about that on one of the threads I linked to as well. :wink:
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby alichamp » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:24 pm

Janella wrote:I have stuff to make the hide and if that doesn't work I can change the substrate.

And of course both together would be positive things to do for long term. But humid hide you can do now. Substrate you can change over when you have to buy a new bag.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:50 pm

So guys I have been doing some research for a new substrate for Noodles to help increase humidity and came across Zilla's Jungle Mix. What do you all think of that? I want to try to bump up his humidty to around 50% or so since it is only now between 25-30%. I am just trying to figure out what i would like and what you guys all like. Thanks again
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Susann » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:56 pm

Jungle Mix should be good --it's usually made up of a mix of fir and moss.

Here is a thread on substrates.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:17 pm

Thank you for responding Susann.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:57 pm

So I was looking at the thread you sent Susann and it looks like I could do the Jungle Mix and then add some Reptibark on top to create a look I would like. I admit I feel like an idiot that I missed knowing what a good substrate is for him. I will plan on ordering the new substrate ASAP if you guys think this sounds good.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Dakota » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:02 pm

Sounds great to me! Better late than never, eh? :P
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:04 pm

Thank you guys
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Susann » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:48 pm

So, now back to the humid hides guys; let's see 'em!
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Susann » Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:10 am

We had a question in the enclosure pictures thread about raising humidity that I will answer here...

The trick to raising humidity without soaking the substrate in the entire tank is to keep the moisture directly on top of, or under, the heat source. It is the air you want to humidify, and warm/hot air is capable of "tying up" and holding much more water than cold or cool air --which is why it's the hot cities by water (or rainfall) that has the highest humidity. :) Like Indonesia/PNG, where the skinks with the highest humidity requirements come from.

So, one way to increase humidity would be to make sure the substrate on the hot side of the tank is kept moist. If that doesn't raise the levels enough, wet it more. Some people add moss to the substrate (or do plain moss) on the warm side of the tank to absorb and hold more moisture.
This is also one of the reasons why I always (unlike a lot of people) suggest that humidifiers be aimed at or installed to spray on the warm side. Yes, it evaporates more, but THAT'S WHAT YOU WANT! It's the evaporation that IS humidity!
Besides, cool or cold + wet = increased risk for respiratory issues.
And I do understand that warm and wet induces mold growth, and that warm, wet, and fecal matter induces risk for bacterial growth, and those things put us between "a rock and a hard place", but if humidity is a must, then we have no choice than to keep on top of the problem side-effects. Because, if lack of humidity is causing problems, then humidity is what we must supply, one way or another.

Now, mind you, some individuals of the Indonesian species do just fine in lower humidity; if you've had a skink for a while and you've seen no problems what so ever, then don't worry about it, unless you're supplying it as a preventative measure to make sure problems don't arise --which would be my suggestion.
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Re: Let's see your humid hides

Postby Janella » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:16 pm

Thank you Susann for more suggestions. I really appreciate it and will see what I can do.

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