It is essential that you provide your pet chameleon with the right humidity levels to ensure their health and wellbeing.
Incorrect humidity levels can result in a range of diseases from tail rot to digestive issues. Poor humidity levels can also cause problems with shedding.
If you are struggling to maintain accurate humidity levels in your pet chameleon’s enclosure, continue reading for some useful tips and valuable advice.
Chameleon Humidity Requirement
How much humidity does your chameleon really need? Your pet’s humidity needs are based on the species of chameleon you have, most need a minimum of around 50%, but some require lower and some require higher levels.
All species require high night time humidity levels.
- Day time humidity – 50% to 60%
- Night time humidity – 75% to 100%
- Day time humidity – 30% to 40%
- Night time humidity – 75% to 100%
- Day time humidity – 30% to 50%
- Night time humidity – 75% to 100%
Please Note: The humidity levels should always be slightly higher during shedding periods.
If you find that the humidity increases or decreases over a few days or hours and then returns to normal after rain or excessively hot days, that's alright.
When the humidity levels are incorrect for longer than a few days, you need to take action to avoid disease, stress, shedding problems, and more.
What Happens When Humidity Is Too High
Chameleons have very specific humidity requirements. They come from warm climates, where they live in desert areas or rain forests. They live in woody growth, trees, and bushes. Correct humidity helps your pet healthy with good digestion, eye health, and skin.
When humidity levels get too high over an extended period, it puts your pet chameleon at risk of tail rot and respiratory infections. The higher moisture levels help bacteria to breed, which can get into your pet’s system.
What Happens When Humidity Is Too Low
When the humidity levels drop for too long, your pet can experience problems with shedding, such as incomplete sheds. This is caused by the air being too dry to enable your pet to shed properly. Incomplete sheds can become infected if ignored.
The correct humidity is needed to help your chameleon with digestion, low humidity causes digestion and blockages.
If your pet hasn't pooped in a few days and the humidity is low, mist the enclosure to courage it to poop.
Monitor Humidity Accurately
It is essential you provide your pet with a habitat that promotes health and wellness, which is why you want to monitor the humidity levels regularly.
Take a glance at a digital hygrometer as you pass the enclosure, ensuring humidity levels remain at optimum.
The Govee Bluetooth Hygrometer is a top digital hygrometer that is bluetooth with app offering accurate readings and a large LCD display for easy monitoring. The benefit of this hygrometer is that you get an alert to your app when humidity levels go out of range, so you can fix the problem quickly.
How To Increase Humidity In A Chameleon Cage
If you find that you are really struggling to maintain the right humidity levels in your pet chameleons cage, then there are a few things you can do to boost humidity, these include:
1. Add Live Plants
Plants are living and breathing organisms and the soil you plant them in offers humidity, along with the leaves. Plants produce oxygen, which is also beneficial for your pet chameleon.
Live plants are close to your pet’s natural habitat but be warned that your chameleon may be tempted to have a little nibble on some of the plants.
2. Cover Sides Of The Enclosure
Most chameleons are kept in a cage and not a glass enclosure, so there may be too much airflow, which is drying out the cage.
You can increase the humidity levels by covering the sides of the cage with material, such as a shower curtain.
3. Change Substrate
If you are currently using a reptile carpet or you haven't bothered with substrate, then it's time to make a change.
Natural substrates such as coco fiber and husks are great at holding moisture and boosting humidity, such as the ZooMed Eco Earth.
This is eco friendly and renewable natural coconut husk that is ideal for maintaining humidity levels in the enclosure. After use it can be recycled by using it as compost in your garden. This substrate also creates the perfect substrate and drainage for live plants.
4. Use Hybrid Or Glass Cage
It is not always recommended to keep a chameleon in a glass enclosure (due to the lack of airflow), but when you cannot get your humidity levels at optimum, a glass enclosure may be the solution.
Glass enclosures are known for improving humidity levels, though remember to use a screen top to allow ample ventilation for your chameleon pet.
5. Automatic Misting
You should already be misting your pet chameleon’s habitat regularly. A gentle misting on the plants, decorations, and sides of the enclosure without soaking it. This immediately gives the humidity levels a boost.
If you are using a misting machine, such as the MistKing system, you will have access to adjustable misting outputs, increasing the misting time and frequency can help increase humidity levels.
6. Manual Misting
Misting regularly, not only improves humidity, but it also helps with your pet chameleon’s hydration. It's recommended to mist the enclosure and all their décor, branches, and leaves. Once your chameleon starts drinking from the dripping water, you can stop.
If you have been misting twice daily and still have low humidity, add another misting during the day to see if this increases the levels to optimum.
7. Use Room Humidifier
Humidifiers are excellent in boosting humidity levels. You can place them near or inside the enclosure.
A good example is the LEVOIT Humidifiers. It has a large 4 liter tank and offers a cool mist with thirty hour operation on low misting.
It has an omnidirectional nozzle, which enables you to place it near or in the enclosure. The quiet operation will not stress out your pet.
You stay in control of the mist, adjusting the output to achieve ideal humidity levels with automatic shut off and a red LED light when water runs out.
8. Bioactive Setup
Bioactive setups are a mix of living elements, working together, creating a mini-ecosystem within your pet’s cage. This includes live plants, microfauna, and fungi, which all live in bioactive habitats.
Micro fauna includes isopods and springtails, they are responsible for cleaning up waste and are sometimes a food source.
Fungi help to clean waste, helping in decomposition, turning waste into nutrients, while plants use the nutrients to grow, providing humidity and shelter for your pet chameleon.
Bioactive setups are low maintenance once they are fully set up. They also provide your pet with a natural habitat, lifelike to what they would have in the wild while giving humidity a welcome boost.
How To Lower Humidity In A Chameleon Cage
High humidity can cause serious health problems for your pet when exposed for too long.
If you find your humidity levels are always on the high side, you can try the following ideas to lower the humidity in your chameleon cage:
1. Reduce Misting
Whether you are using a misting machine or you are manually misting, reduce how much you mist the enclosure.
If you are misting two to three times a day, try reducing it by one misting to see if it makes a difference.
Many chameleon owners only need to mist for a short period twice daily.
2. Use Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are excellent in removing water from the air, reducing humidity levels, along with reducing mold and dust mites. Placing a dehumidifier near or inside the tank can help to reduce the humidity levels.
The Pro Breeze Electric Mini Dehumidifier is a good example, a small and compact dehumidifier, which is portable and lightweight.
It can remove eighteen ounces of water from the air daily. It has an auto shut off when the dehumidifier is full. Being ultra-quiet, it will not stress your pet out.
3. Change Substrate
If you are currently using coconut fiber or husks in your chameleon cage, now is the time to change.
Some substrates are excellent in retaining moisture to boost humidity. When your humidity levels are too high, it's commended to change the substrate or remove it completely.
Chameleons don't spend much time on the ground, so they won't miss the substrate.
If you want substrate for aesthetic purposes, consider a reptile carpet, such as the Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding, which is low maintenance and can be cut to size. It cannot be digested, making it safe and reducing the risk of impaction. Made from an absorbent, non-abrasive material, it is easy to clean.
4. Increase Ventilation
When you increase the ventilation in a room, the humidity automatically drops. So, try the same with your chameleon cage.
If you have the sides and top of the cage covered, remove the coverings to allow ample ventilation.
If you have chosen a glass enclosure, ensure you have a screen lid, which allows ample airflow to reduce humidity levels.
Alternatively, you can open the windows in the room where you keep your chameleon cage to lower the humidity.
Another option is to place a fan in the room to increase airflow.
5. A Sock Filled With Rice or Cat Sand
Placing rice or cat sand in a sock inside the enclosure will absorb any excess moisture.
Be careful the sock can mold, so you will want to check it and change the rice or cat sand regularly.
Correct humidity levels are essential to ensure the health and wellness of your chameleon pet.
Following the above tips can help you control the humidity levels in your chameleon cage to reduce illness, digestion, and shedding problems.
Use a digital hygrometer and keep a close eye on the humidity levels, making immediate changes where necessary to keep it at optimum.