An appropriate habitat for bearded dragons has a lot of requirements. Most people know that the lighting can be a little bit tricky and that you need a huge tank for bearded dragons. But what about humidity? What are the right humidity levels for bearded dragons?
The humidity inside the bearded dragon tanks should be between 30%-40% during the daytime. At night, it should be around 55%. Shedding problems and various diseases may occur if the tank has incorrect humidity levels.
Why is the right humidity even important, and what can you do to increase or decrease the humidity in a bearded dragon tank? Continue to read to learn how to adjust the humidity levels in your bearded dragon tank easily and more.
What Are The Right Humidity Levels For Bearded Dragons?
As I said, during the day, you should have a humidity level of 30 to 40% in a bearded dragon tank. This is the same humidity they have in their home, Australia.
Normally this is pretty easy to achieve if you do not live in an area with very high or low humidity levels.
During the night it should be a little bit higher, but it should never be higher than 60%.
Do Bearded Dragons Need Humidity? Why?
Bearded dragons definitely need humidity. Too low humidity can lead to serious health problems, same as too high humidity.
What Happens If The Humidity Is Too Low
Bearded dragons that live in a tank with too low humidity will suffer from shedding problems eventually. Reptiles need to get rid of their old skin from time to time and higher humidity can really help them with this.
That´s why a lot of people give bearded dragons a bath during shedding. The dead skin gets soaked and soft and will fall off easier. You can even rub the old, soaked skin off gently to help your bearded dragon with that.
Low humidity levels also cause femoral pore blockage. This is when the pores on the thighs of your bearded dragon will get clogged and infected. These pores secrete wax which your beardie uses to mark its territory and signal potential mates.
When it is too dry, the wax does not come off of the pore. A build-up of wax is then formed in the pore which is uncomfortable and even dangerous to your beardie if not secreted.
Dehydration may also happen if the tank has low humidity, even if there is a water bowl inside. Along with dehydration, constipation and urinary tract infection issues may also develop.
Probably the scariest thing that can happen when the tank is left too long with low humidity is kidney failure. When this happens, you need to immediately rush to the vet.
What Happens If The Humidity Is Too High
Bearded dragons that live in a tank with too high humidity for a long period of time will suffer from respiratory infections and similar diseases eventually.
Seeking a vet is necessary if your beardie develops upper respiratory infections and even pneumonia as they need to take antibiotics. However, it is difficult to diagnose what type of respiratory infection it is as it may have been developed by different bacteria, viruses, or fungi that thrived due to high humidity.
As always, moisture combined with warmth is perfect for bacteria to thrive. Bearded dragons are not used to high humidity and are very sensitive to this. So this can lead to diseases in your bearded dragon extremely quickly.
You should look out for the following symptoms if you accidentally made the tank too high in humidity:
- Eye and nose discharge
- Bubbling of nose and mouth
- Shallow or rapid breathing
- Mouth is open when breathing
- Low appetite
- Snorting or sneezing
- Throat puffing
- Weight loss
Unfortunately, bearded dragons can hide their symptoms very well, especially if it is caused by incorrect humidity. Therefore, if left undetected, there are cases where the respiratory infection develops into septicemia, which is very serious as the infection is already coursing through the bloodstream.
Don´t get me wrong, a little bit too high can be okay for a while, but a humidity of 60% over a long period of time definitely will make your bearded dragon sick.
How To Measure Humidity In A Bearded Dragon Tank?
Measuring humidity in a bearded dragon tank is actually pretty easy. Simply get a hygrometer and put the sensor at the back in the middle of your tank. Many people also use two hygrometers to measure the humidity in the warm zone and in the cooler zone in the terrarium.
I recommend to get a digital hygrometer. You don´t have to spend a fortune on it, but it should definitely be a digital hygrometer as those are way more accurate. If you want to get the hygrometer I recommend, click here.
If you are concerned about continuously buying batteries or do not want the hassle of recharging rechargeable batteries, you can also opt for an analog hygrometer. Keep in mind that analog hygrometers do not have a probe so you have to position it correctly to have an accurate measurement and reading.
You can check this one from Exo Terra. It is not only affordable, but it does its job perfectly. It is also fairly easy to set up and the readings are easy to see and accurate.
Where To Place The Hygrometer
Keep in mind that humidity readings correspond to the temperature of the enclosure. Therefore, given that the tank is set up properly in both cool and hot areas, there is about a 20 C or 68 F difference between the two areas.
It is best to put the hygrometer (analog) or the probe (digital) at the center to get an accurate reading. Here are other things to consider:
- Do not place the hygrometer or probe in live foliage. If you have fake plants, it is okay.
- Do not put it in a corner that has no air circulation.
- Do not put it above a water dish.
- Do not let the probe dangle as curious beardies may play with it and accidentally ingest it.
- Place the hygrometer or probe against the wall or attach it to an accessory.
If you place the probe or hygrometer near live foliage, a water dish, or a corner with no air circulation, it will give an inaccurate reading as the placement exaggerates the level of water vapor.
How To Raise Humidity In A Bearded Dragon Tank?
There are several ways to raise the humidity in a bearded dragon tank. You can mist the tank on a regular basis, put a water bowl inside the tank or use a moist substrate.
However, what is the best way to increase the humidity in a bearded dragon tank?
I´d say that using a bigger water bowl is the best way to do this.
Why? Because the water bowl is best to raise the humidity in a very controlled way.
If you see that the humidity gets too high, simply remove the water bowl, reduce the water in the bowl or choose a smaller water bowl. With a water bowl, you can easily experiment what works best to get the right humidity levels.
Pro tip: If you need to raise humidity rapidly, it is best to put the water bowl near a heat source. Humidity can raise in just a matter of minutes.
Why Not Misting?
Misting can also be a very good way to increase humidity. However, if you constantly have low humidity levels, you would have to mist on a daily basis, which is not good. This could lead to diseases in your bearded dragon as well.
Besides that, not all bearded dragons love misting and are annoyed and stressed quickly by that. If you intend to mist the enclosure daily, it is better to use purified water.
In this way, the formation of mineral deposits against the glass will be prevented so the tank can be cleaned easier.
What About Moist Substrate?
I don´t like using moist substrate as it does not really belong in the natural habitat of a bearded dragon. Further, if the substrate is too wet, it could raise the humidity higher than you actually wanted and you might even have to remove the moist substrate again.
Moist substrate can also easily absorb the smell or even juices of the feeder. When this happens, your bearded dragon may mistake the substrate for food. When ingested, this can lead to constipation or even impaction.
Having a moist substrate may also be the cause of a mite infestation. Of course, mites can prove to be dangerous for your beardies, so if you really need to have a moist substrate, make sure that there is still a bit of dry substrate or you need to always change your substrate at least once a week.
If you are using reptile carpet as a substrate and it is always moist, you need to always change it. You can opt for an excavator clay substrate, just like this one. This substrate holds well against moisture and it hardens once it dries. Another pro is the substrate itself can be a mode of enrichment for your beardies.
What About Plants?
Plants can help to create a microclimate in your terrarium. So even if the humidity is pretty low, there can be a microclimate near the plants that have higher humidity.
The problem is that there are not a lot of desert plants that can help you achieving that. If you want to learn which plants you can use for your bearded dragon tank, click here.
How To Lower Humidity In A Bearded Dragon Tank
To lower humidity in your bearded dragon tank, get a tank with sufficient ventilation or remove the tank´s cover. You should only use a screen cover for your tank and nothing else. Further opening the front doors of your tank can really help to lower the humidity.
Just make sure that your beardie can´t escape.
In addition to that, removing any moist parts in your bearded dragon tank will help to lower the humidity. For example, get a smaller water bowl for your bearded dragon or fill the existing bowl with less water.
If the humidity level is still too high, consider removing the water bowl. Just place it back again when the humidity is at the proper level. From there, you can adjust the level of water you put in the water bowl.
Remove moist substrate from the tank. If you want to use it, some people put the moist substrate in the oven and bake it to get it dry. I don´t recommend such experiments. Just get a new substrate.
You may be tempted to mist the enclosure as it is part of bearded dragon care, but you should not do so when you are lowering humidity. Postponing misting can drastically lower the humidity. You can mist the enclosure again once the humidity level is back to normal.
Lastly, if all else fails, you can try using a dehumidifier. Usually, this is no longer needed as the above tips usually do the trick. However, in places where the humidity is naturally high, using a dehumidifier can help speed things along.
You can try using this one. This works in small spaces and the best part is it is non-toxic for your bearded dragon. It also does not need batteries or a cord so there is no risk of electrocuting your beardies.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a couple of more questions people have on this topic. Here are the answers.
Do Bearded Dragons Need A Humid Hide?
Bearded dragons do not need a humid hide inside their tank. For leopard geckos, for example, a humid hide is very healthy, but for bearded dragons, a too moist environment will cause health problems.
Do Bearded Dragons Need A Humidifier?
For reptiles like bearded dragons that come from a very dry area, a humidifier is completely unnecessary.
As you see, having the right humidity levels for bearded dragons is extremely important as it has an influence on their health.
Luckily, the right humidity can easily be achieved with a couple of tweaks.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below!