When it comes to any habitat for your leopard gecko, one of the most fundamental parts is their hide and generally speaking these are not particularly difficult to set up.
A good hide will allow your lizard to feel comfortable and secure, along with having its own relative privacy.
If you’ve got the space for it, try to set up multiple hide boxes with a humid hide.
Of course, you will want to save as much time and money as possible, so making your own can be incredibly useful. However, you might be unaware as to how you can do this.
That’s why we’ve devised this very helpful guide to try to explain everything. Here’s what you need to know about making a humid hide for your leopard gecko.
Humid Hides: A How To Guide
To make an ideal moist and humid hide, you will need a container that is at least two to three times the size of your pet, along with a substrate that retains lots of moisture but does not have a tendency to mold.
Place the substrate and the container at the warm side of the tank and then sit back and allow your leopard gecko to enjoy your invention. You will need:
This of course is the primary item you will need to make a humid hide.
While many people automatically head towards glass (and there’s lots of advantages to glass), it might actually get a little too hot for your lizard friend.
One of the best materials you can use is plastic and you can even do this by reusing an old plastic container that you may have purchased butter in or something similar.
Essentially, there are two major points that you will need to consider.
The first is to consider the size, which as we mentioned earlier needs to be at least two to three times the size of your lizard.
Try not to go too large though because it might have trouble retaining the heat, which is the primary objective.
The second is to consider how well it can handle the heat. It’s no use using something which will melt or snap under hot conditions.
You will have to source a special type of substrate for an ideal humid hide.
While a standard substrate can be fine for the rest of the tank, it will not be as good at retaining the humidity that your hide will need.
Many experts in this field have suggested some of the following ideas for special substrate, including:
- Paper towels
- Peat moss
- Coconut bedding
- Sphagnum moss
Out of these options, you are probably best off with coconut bedding but the other options are acceptable as a backup.
This is because the coconut fibers respond excellently well to moisture and humidity.
Not only this but the material actually resists mold, so it makes it especially useful!
However, you just need to remember to use enough to cover the ground within the hide and you should replace it when you do your usual cleaning schedule.
Scissors are only necessary for you to be able to cut an entrance into your chosen container. However, you do not necessarily need to use scissors, as you could opt to use a knife or something similar.
You do need to ensure that whatever tool you use to make the entrance, you make a clean cut that does not have ragged or sharp edges.
This will ensure that there is nothing that could potentially harm your lizard friend.
Making The Hide
Now that we’re aware of what we need to make the hide, it’s now time we explore exactly what we should be doing.
Select Your Spot
The right spot within the tank is critical to the success of using a humid hide.
You must first assess if the tank has a warm or cooler side. If there is an especially warm side, be sure that you place your hide there.
You may be using a heating mat instead, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to ensure that the heating mat is being used on one side more than the other.
The reason for this is because if your lizard does get a little too hot, they have a place on the other side of the tank that they can cool off, and of course vice versa when they are too cold.
It’s also important to note that you should not place the hide underneath a light if it is on the warmer side.
This is because the humid hide will almost undoubtedly become too hot for your leopard gecko and they won’t use it at all.
Sort The Substrate
Now it is time to spread your substrate correctly.
You will now have worked out how much room the hide takes up so you now need to spread the substrate to cover the whole area.
If you have a reptile carpet, you should still cover it with the substrate to about an inch or so.
Also be sure that if you are using pea gravel, you move it out of the way of the hide and check for moss.
Wet The Substrate
Fill a spray bottle with water and then lightly spray the substrate area with it.
There’s no real cement rule with how much water you should be spraying here, but it’s generally accepted that there should be no standing water left and the substrate color should appear yellow.
You’d be better off using less water than you think you need because if you risk using too much water, there is a real chance that you could end up with mold and bacterial growth.
Nothing bad should happen if the substrate is too dry, but it should be at least damp enough for humidity to be raised.
Cut The Hole
As we mentioned earlier, you will likely need to use a pair of scissors to cut a hole for an entrance to your leopard gecko’s hide.
The entrance needs to be about twice the height of your lizard and also about twice the width of your lizard. If the hide and entrance is too small, your lizard can feel trapped and claustrophobic.
And as we mentioned earlier too, you will want to be absolutely certain that the cuts you have made are not sharp or ragged with pointy edges which could potentially harm your lizard.
Place Down Your Container
Now that you’ve got everything ready, it’s now time to place the hide down into your desired spot. You can ensure that the edges are held down into place by using the substrate to your advantage.
Once all of these things have been completed correctly, you can now sit back and relax.
Caring For Your Humid Hide
As we said earlier in this guide, you will need to ensure that you are paying close attention to the container throughout the coming months.
Ensure that you increase the size and replace it if you need to.
Ensure you are keeping a cleaning schedule and you are adhering to it.
When you complete your normal cleaning process, ensure you are replacing the substrate regularly along with it.
Of course, there are so many ways that you can make a humid hide that you will need to be a little creative with your choices.
You may even decide to make it look better by coloring it or wrapping it.
However, you need to be careful that you are not using materials that could either cause your leopard gecko harm if they fall off (especially if they consume it), and you want to also ensure that you are not using materials that cannot withstand the conditions.
Is A Humid Hide Even Necessary?
That really depends on you.
Many owners of leopard geckos will swear by humid hides and tell you that it is a vital piece of equipment that these lizards need to prevent any problems with shedding or laying their eggs.
When you are doing your usual tank care, take a look around for signs of shedding. If there are clear signs, then the humid hide is doing its job.
However, if you do notice that there is no sign of shedding – you may need to switch things around.
Be sure to contact a professional if you are concerned at any time about the health and behavior of your lizard.
This is especially true if you are concerned about your lizard not laying their eggs or are not eating correctly.
Where Is The Best Place For The Humid Hide?
Unlike your standard hides, humid hides must be placed on the warm side of the tank so they can be best used and enjoyed.
However, as we spoke about earlier – be sure that you are not putting the hides underneath lights.
Doing this will simply make the hides too hot to be inside for your lizard and they will not use them ever again, which renders the whole point useless.
Is It Good To Spray A Leopard Gecko With Water?
It’s not exactly advisable to do this. While lizards enjoy humid conditions, too much humidity can actually lead to breathing and respiratory problems.
What you are trying to do is to recreate the conditions of a leopard gecko’s natural habitat, which is very dry and warm.
During the hotter months of the year, these lizards look for the most humid spots to relax in.
Should I Be Turning Off My Lizard’s Light At Night?
Yes, it’s a very good idea to switch off your leopard gecko’s light at night time.
What you want to be aiming for is around 12 hours with the light on and about 12 hours with the light off.
This allows you to conserve energy, but it also allows your lizard to keep with their natural day and night pattern.
As these lizards are crepuscular, when the light is turned off, they will likely become more active.
In addition to this, with the light off – they will notice a change in temperature.
This temperature change allows them to regulate their body temperature cycle much more efficiently.
Remember that these lizards are trying to conserve their energy throughout the day, and that’s why they are much more active during dusk until dawn.
Our Final Thoughts
Making a humid hide for your leopard gecko can be extremely beneficial, not just for your pet – but also for you, as you can save some money.
Just be sure that you’re monitoring the hide often and keeping the area clean.