Are Humidifiers Good for Reptiles? Are They Safe?

  • Simon Kent
  • Date: November 12, 2021
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Reptiles in captivity require strict control of the humidity in their environments because they are unable to regulate this on their own. If the humidity is too low, it can cause dehydration and other serious health issues and if it is too high, harmful bacteria and molds may start to grow. Using a humidifier, fogger, and/or mister can assist with the challenging task of keeping proper humidity levels.

The article below outlines some of the differences between foggers, humidifiers, and misters as well as some common features that you should look for.

Do I Even Need a Humidifier or Mister?

Always check with your veterinarian to understand the particular humidity needs of your reptile species. For desert-dwelling reptiles with lower humidity needs, placing a water bowl under the heat source to add evaporation may be more than sufficient. However, tropical reptiles with higher humidity needs will likely need some additional humidity added to keep them healthy.

Every reptile enclosure should feature at least one high-quality Thermometer and Hygrometer which is an instrument that is used to measure relative humidity. Monitoring it a couple of times throughout the day will provide you with a good baseline in terms of what is required.

Monitoring humidity levels during different seasons should be performed as well. In colder climates, additional humidity may be needed during the winter as the air will be drier. 

Reptile Foggers and Humidifiers – What’s the Difference

Foggers and humidifiers replicate environmental fog that is pumped into the enclosure by a hose. The water released is very fine so there will not be any visible water droplets accumulating on the glass or foliage.  

Foggers are interchangeable with humidifiers. The main difference is that foggers are created specifically for reptile enclosure use.

Regular household-type humidifiers can be used with some modifications. However, ensure that you purchase an ultrasonic humidifier that creates a cool mist. Regular humidifiers heat the water and therefore can increase the temperature in your enclosure.

Reptile Misters

A reptile mister replicates rain, so it disperses actual water droplets into the environment. This not only adds water into the environment, but it can also be a water source for those reptiles that prefer to drink water droplets than from a water bowl.

There are both high and low-pressure misters available on the market. High-pressure misters are generally preferred because they are more efficient. Good misters typically have a droplet size of 100 microns or less in order to produce enough humidity.

In addition to adding moisture into the environment, misting systems also assist with the circulation of fresh air.

Which one should i get?

Research on the needs of your species will help direct you as to what exactly is needed. Some owners will purchase one system or may install a mix to help mimic the natural environment. For example, some run a mister during the day and a fogger at night to mimic the natural water cycles in the environment.

What To Look for In Humidifiers, Foggers, and Misters

There are a large number of different humidifiers, foggers, and misters on the market for use in reptile tanks with a wide range of features. 

Some common features to keep in mind when purchasing include:

  • Automatic Timers – Timers allow you to automatically manage the frequency and duration of humidity released into the environment.
  • Automatic Shut Off – Humidifiers and foggers with automatic shut-offs prevent them from burning out when the tank runs dry.
  • Volume – Humidifiers and foggers often come with a reservoir tank to hold the water. The larger the capacity of the tank, the less often you have to fill it.
  • Adjustable – Reptiles have differing humidity needs to stay healthy. Purchasing a tank that can be adjusted ensures that the humidity levels will always meet their needs.
  • Length of Hose – The extension hose is what carries the water from the reservoir tank into the mister that sprays the tank. The longer the extension hose is, the more freedom you have to make adjustments.
  • Easy to Clean – Water reservoirs can easily grow dangerous bacteria and molds. Regular cleaning is essential that it is free from these harmful organisms.
  • Noise Levels – The noise level is important as ones that are too loud can disturb and scare reptiles.

Conclusion

Humidifiers, foggers, and misters are all used to increase the humidity levels of the reptile enclosure. However, they differ in how they disperse the water droplets.

The misting system will replicate rainfall and is more effective at dispersing water than a fogger or humidifier will be. The mist is very fine so it will not leave any visible residue on the glass or foliage. It can also be used to assist with the circulation of fresh air in the enclosure by creating a cool breeze.

A fogger creates an environment that replicates natural humidity levels by pumping water vapor into the enclosure with a hose. This produces an even spread of humidity across the entire enclosure.  

The humidity levels will be higher than with a fogger and are more appropriate for tropical species.  The most effective use of a mister is when it is supplemented by a fogger or humidifier to increase the total amount of humidity in the enclosure. 

With the wide variety of systems available on the market, it can be confusing to determine which one is ideal for your needs.  By keeping in mind the humidity needs of your species and the features that are most important to you, you will be able to find an effective system that fits your budget.

Click to find out more about caring for reptiles, snakes and Lizards.

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