Setting up the correct humidity levels in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is one of the most important tasks you’ll undertake.
You want to ensure they have the proper environment to grow and thrive and providing the optimal levels of humidity play a vital role in your bearded dragon’s health and wellbeing.
In this post, we will cover all you need to know about humidity as a bearded dragons owner so you can confidently provide your beardie with the perfect captive habitat.
Read On to Discover…
Is Humidity Important to Bearded Dragons?
No one’s a fan of humidity. As it starts to climb, breathing gets difficult, sweating becomes more profuse, and hair – well, the less said about that, the better.
For bearded dragons – and most reptile species – humidity isn’t quite so annoying.
So while you may harbor a secret hatred for humidity, your beardie needs it for a happy, healthy existence.
So is humidity important for bearded dragons? Humidity is extremely important for bearded dragons. The proper humidity levels allow bearded dragons to perform shedding behaviors without complications. It also ensures continued comfort within the enclosure, so your bearded dragon doesn’t dry out under the heat lamp or start to develop unwanted health issues.
Relative humidity is the definition of how much water vapor the air can hold at a given temperature. You see and hear humidity expressed as a percent, and a relative humidity of 100% is the maximum saturation.
As the temperature changes, so does the humidity. The hotter it gets, the more water vapor the air can hold.
Bearded dragons naturally enjoy warmer climates, but they’re NOT desert species. As such, they enjoy a cushion of humidity in their enclosures.
However, they’re not looking for rainforest conditions. They want relative humidity that mimics the regions they call home. That’s the environment that keeps them the most comfortable.
Comfort isn’t the only necessity behind the humidity dance, though. Without the proper balance of moisture in the air, beardies struggle with health issues.
As it turns out, that simple percentage contributes to many vital bodily processes. Which means taking the time to get the humidity level in your bearded dragon’s enclosure just right is crucial.
Here’s a video that explains relative humidity in simple terms…
What are the Correct Humidity Levels for Bearded Dragons?
You know bearded dragons come from inland regions in Australia. But you also know most of central Australia consists of desert.
Bearded dragons aren’t desert species and don’t inhabit the pockets of rainforest, which can make it confusing when trying to understand the correct humidity levels they need.
So, what humidity levels do bearded dragons need? As a lizard species from dry inland regions of Australia, bearded dragons don’t need insane humidity levels. However, an average relative humidity level of 30-40 percent keeps them comfortable and prevents unwanted health complications.
Sounds surprising, right? That’s almost the mid-way mark. This range allows your beardie to shed their skin without trouble while staving off unwanted fungus and bacterial growth within the tank. But how do you measure humidity levels?
How to Measure Humidity Levels in a Bearded Dragons Tank
The easiest way to keep track of the relative humidity in your bearded dragon’s enclosure is with the use of a hygrometer.
Hygrometers measure humidity in enclosed spaces. With a glance, you’ll notice the percent and decide whether you’re low, on track, or high.
You have the choice of an analog or digital hygrometer. Neither is necessarily better or worse than the other, but the following table breaks down their pros and cons.
Digital Vs Analog Hygrometer (Pros & Cons)
|Analog||No Batteries||No Probe So Need Careful Placement Can Get Difficult to Read|
|Digital||Probe So Easy Placement Easy to Read||Needs Batteries Comes with a Cord|
If you want the BEST answer? A digital hygrometer is better, however, You should invest in one of each.
Then you’ll have a redundant system. Because sometimes, cheap analog hygrometers end up off by about 15%.
And other times, you forget to check the batteries on the digital hygrometers. A backup system is ALWAYS your friend.
The digital hygrometer we recommend is the “Jlenoveg Digital Thermometer & Hygrometer”
It’s easy to install and has a large display that is reliable so you can’t go wrong with this option especially for the low price.
You can check it out over at Amazon below…
- Essential Reptile Thermometer Hygrometer: Monitor temperature and humidity of tanks with this easy to use thermometer hygrometer.
- Stylish Design: Stylish looking digital thermometer with hook and loop for temperature and humidity monitoring. Easy to read, install and operate;...
Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Where Should I Place My Hygrometer?
It’s really important to place the hygrometer in a place that will give the fairest reading possible.
There are many factors that could affect the reading and therefore give the impression that the humidity is effectively higher than it is.
We would recommend placing the hygrometer around the centre of the tank, in between the basking area and the cool spot.
This is because the temperature basking area can affect the relative humidity levels.
You also want to be wary of placing the hygrometer (especially if it has a probe) too near to water bowls, live pants or anything that produces moisture as this will also affect the reading.
Also, be mindful of placing probes in corners and under substrate and they will obviously affect the reading.
Keeping the hygrometer on the back wall of the tank and centrally is a great place to start and will give you the best opportunity to get a stable and unbiased reading.
Do Baby and Adult Bearded Dragons Need the Same Humidity Levels?
Sometimes the baby and juvenile versions of animals require different living conditions than adults. It’s reasonable.
Babies grow faster, and their development requires other nutrients. However, when it comes to humidity levels with bearded dragons, you’re off the hook.
No matter how old your beardie is, their humidity level requirements remain the same. (Makes things easy, especially when you’re getting that enclosure set up for the first time)
Ever wondered how fast bearded dragons grow? Here’s our full guide that shares the answer (with charts)
Do the Basking and Cool Side of the Tank Need the Same Humidity Levels?
You know you need to establish a temperature gradient within your bearded dragon’s enclosure.
They need a basking region to promote healthy digestion. But they also need a cooler area, so they don’t bake alive.
They help regulate the process through signals from their third eye. However, those signals don’t have input on humidity levels.
Further Reading – The Bearded Dragons Third Eye ( Complete Guide)
So do you need to worry about creating a humidity gradient in the tank?
As it turns out, you don’t.
You want to keep the same relative humidity of 30-40 percent throughout the entire tank. Which can get tricky. After all, relative humidity varies with temperature.
You may need to do some creative decorating to get those numbers across the board
Having multiple hygrometers will be your friend. You should place one on the cool side and one on the basking side.
They’ll reassure you there’s an even environment throughout the tank. However, be smart with your placement.
- Go half-way up the tank wall
- Place the hygrometer on the back of the enclosure
- Put hygrometers next to water bowls
- Go beside the heat lamp
- Aim for corners
- Let probes dangle into live plants (fake plants are fine)
What Humidity Levels Do Bearded Dragons Need at Night?
Once you’ve set up your hygrometers correctly and double-checked all of the probes everything should be good to go, right?
Well, not always, some owners check the humidity levels of their bearded dragon’s tank on a night only to find that the humidity has jumped, but is this acceptable or not?
So, what humidity levels do bearded dragons need on a night? During the evening, it’s acceptable for relative humidity levels for your bearded dragon to go up to 55%, but no higher. The room temperature will probably go up, courtesy of your home thermostat, allowing for an increase in the relative humidity within the enclosure.
We live indoors with set thermostats. As such, we tend to forget about the fact that outdoor temperatures drop with the setting sun. In the wild, humidity would go down. (Remember, lower temperatures hold less water vapor)
But inside, where a lot of people program an increase to ward off the chill? The opposite tends to happen.
In a perfect world, the humidity level in your beardie’s enclosure wouldn’t change from night to day. However, if you see a slight increase (nothing greater than the 55% threshold), you won’t cause any harm.
The warmer air in the room, combined with the settings on your tank’s heat lamp, bump the overall temperature. So the humidity responds in kind.
You’ll see the humidity drop again during the day as everything evens out again.
If you don’t want the increase to occur, consider leaving the thermostat alone. If the temperature in your beardie’s room remains constant, the humidity will do so, too.
What Happens if the Humidity is Too Low or Too High?
Okay, so humidity keeps your bearded dragon comfortable and helps the shedding process.
Is it THAT important? After all, you don’t mind giving them a bath to keep them shedding properly.
It’s fun, and you get to handle them more often. (Who doesn’t love that?)
As it turns out, comfort isn’t the only risk on the table.
You can head over to our easy to follow guide that shares everything you need to know about bearded dragon shedding…
Health Risks for Bearded Dragons in Low Humidity
Low humidity doesn’t present quite as frequently as high humidity. And – luckily for bearded dragons – the remedies are easier to come by.
But if you don’t have hygrometers in place and fail to take notice, the health complications can sneak up on you.
- Dehydration: Constant, low-level dehydration builds up over time. Unattended, you’ll end up making a trip to the vet.
- Femoral Pore Blockage: Without proper fluids, femoral pores become obstructed. They can then develop painful infections.
- Kidney Disease: Constant dehydration causes the kidneys to start struggling. They need fluid to work correctly.
- Non-Obstructive Dystocia: Gravid females need proper moisture to lay their eggs. In dry environments, they struggle.
- Shedding Complications: Left unattended, problems shedding can interfere with circulation. Your beardie may even lose toes or limbs!
- Urinary Tract Infections: Once again, proper fluid intake keeps a happy bladder.
Keeping the proper humidity levels within your beardie’s tank is all it takes to prevent these unwanted health complications.
Health Risks for Bearded Dragons in High Humidity
So your hygrometer’s showing percentages at the high end. No big deal, right?
At least you know your bearded dragon’s getting plenty of moisture. Unhappily, all of that extra moisture is also nourishing a different kind of growth.
Think about it: what else is in the tank? Leftover food. Beardie waste. Decaying plant material. And what thrives in those conditions? Bacteria, mold, fungus.
And ALL of those things lead to some nasty health conditions for your bearded dragon.
- Bacterial Infections: If it grows in the tank, your beardie can contract it.
- Ulcerative or Necrotic Dermatitis: A fancy way of saying “really horrible skin infections.” Left untreated, they begin to decay.
- Respiratory Disease: Once infection reaches your beardie’s lungs, things get dicey.
- Fungal Disease: Mold can get into the lungs, skin, or mouth. NONE of those options is fun to treat.
Once your bearded dragon contracts one of these microbes, you’re in for a long haul with the veterinarian.
They’ll need to perform cultures to figure out which bug they’re dealing with, and treatment may take MONTHS. Monitoring the humidity in the first place is ALWAYS the better option.
What Can Cause the Humidity Levels in My Bearded Dragon Tank to be Too Low?
You don’t want to cope with complications from low humidity levels. You have hygrometers in place to keep an eye on things.
If you’re seeing that percentage below the 30% threshold it’s important that you find out what’s causing the humidity to go so low.
So, what can cause humidity levels to be too low for bearded dragons? A lot of times, low humidity levels come from the set-up of your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Make sure you’ve chosen live plants versus fake, and choose larger water bowls to encourage moisture to evaporate. Then look at the placement of the tank for other environmental cues.
You know better than to place your bearded dragon’s enclosure in bright, brilliant sunlight. But tucking it away in a cold, dark basement? That’s not going to work, either.
You want to split the difference to set up the proper environment to encourage the 30-40% relative humidity.
Without SOME outside heat source, the tank will always struggle with cold input that brings down the humidity.
You also need to consider how you set up the enclosure. Maybe a small water bowl seems sufficient for your beardie, but it doesn’t do much to add moisture to the system.
And plastic plants are a cinch to take care of, but they contribute nothing to humidity. You may want to rethink your decor and placement within the enclosure if you’re struggling with low humidity levels.
How Can I Raise the Humidity Levels for My Bearded Dragon?
Before your bearded dragon ends up with a shedding problem or dehydration issues, odds are you want to try solving the problem.
And while you may not have a choice on where your beardie’s enclosure is, you CAN do some things to raise the humidity level – even in a basement.
So, how can you raise the humidity levels in your bearded dragon’s tank? Here are the 8 ways you can increase humidity for bearded dragons:
- Relocate the water bowl
- Use a larger water bowl
- Mist your bearded dragon
- Add more live plants
- Add a fogger
- Close windows
- Check the placement of the hygrometer
- Turn off the air conditioning
What is humidity? Water vapor in the air. You don’t want to play around with the temperature in your beardie’s home. So look at the other end of the equation.
You ALWAYS have the option of adding more water to your enclosure. With more water vapor under the same temperature, the relative humidity will creep up.
- Water Relocation. If you move your beardie’s water bowl to the basking side of the tank, you’ll encourage evaporation.
You can also move the bowl at different areas in between if you need to get a balance and only create slightly more humidity in the tank.
- Add a Larger Water Bowl. (Basic science, here) You might need to invest in a larger bowl (or a second one), so your dragon has plenty to drink, but it’s a simple solution to the problem as adding more water to the tank will increase humidity levels.
- Mist your Bearded Dragon. Every time you mist your bearded dragon, you add water vapor to the enclosure.
So increasing the misting process will raise the relative humidity. Just make sure you use purified water, so you don’t get mineral deposits everywhere.
You can find out exactly how to mist your beardie by heading over to our new step by step misting guide…
- Add Live Plants. Yes, live plants require time and care. However, live plants also undergo a natural process known as photosynthesis.
One of the byproducts? Water. The more live plants you have, the higher the humidity will get.
- Add a Fogger. If you’re struggling with your humidity levels, automatic foggers should do the trick.
You’ll want one with a timer (you DON’T want to leave it on 24/7; your beardie doesn’t live at Jurassic Park), but the constant infusion of water vapor WILL raise the humidity level. It’s more work on your part, but it beats frequent trips to the vet.
- Close The Windows. A quick and simple way to increase the humidity in the room is to close any windows that are open in your home.
This will encourage the humidity levels to increase both in the room and in the enclosure too.
- Check The Hygrometer Placement. It’s always important to check the placement of the hygrometer.
The readings that it gives you can be dependent on its placement as relative humidity is affected by temperature.
This means that moving the hygrometer closer or further away from the basking lamp will often give a different reading.
- Turn Off The Air Conditioning. This won’t apply to everyone, however, if you have air conditioning in your home it’s wise to turn it off if you want to increase the humidity levels in the room and your beardies tank.
What Can Cause the Humidity Levels in My Bearded Dragon Tank to be Too High?
More often than not, bearded dragon owners struggle with HIGH humidity levels.
And with the threat of mold, fungus, and bacteria hanging over your head, Odds are you want to figure out what might send humidity levels soaring.
So, what can cause humidity levels in a bearded dragons tank to be too high? Glass tanks with glass lids pose the most significant risk for high humidity in bearded dragon enclosures. Lack of ventilation allows the temperature and moisture to continue to build higher and higher. The other culprit is often the temperature and stagnant air in the room itself.
If you can find an enclosure with vents along the bottom AND a mesh lid, that’s your best bet. With two screens, you keep airflow moving throughout the chamber and prevent humidity from getting out of control.
Unhappily, the room where you keep your beardie often causes the problem. A tank sitting in full, brilliant sunshine is ALWAYS a terrible idea.
Temperatures climb, allowing a higher concentration of water vapor. Make sure you keep the tank further away to protect your beardie. And consider how long you’ve kept the room closed up and stuffy.
Here’s a table that shares the recommended temperatures for your bearded dragon’s enclosure…
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
Lack of ventilation isn’t just bad for humidity, it’s not great for YOUR health. Sometimes opening a window for air circulation will go a long way to dropping unwanted high humidity levels.
How Can I Lower the Humidity Levels for My Bearded Dragon?
If you have condensation dripping down the sides of your beardie tank, you don’t need to look at your hygrometers: the humidity is WAY too high.
If you’re panicking and envisioning multiplying bacterial colonies, take a deep breath. There ARE ways to lower the humidity level in an enclosure.
So, how can you lower the humidity for your bearded dragon? The are the 11 ways you can lower the humidity levels for a bearded dragon:
- Relocate the water bowl
- Use a smaller water bowl
- Consider a substrate that holds less moisture
- Reduce misting
- Use a mesh top for the tank
- Use a dehumidifier
- Turn up the air conditioning
- Add a sock full of rice to the tank
- Remove live plants
- Check hygrometer placement
- Open a window
Lowering humidity takes more work than raising humidity. (Adding is always easier than subtracting) But putting in the work will prevent your beardie from contracting a horrible infection. So prepare to take some notes and roll up your sleeves.
- Ventilate And Open a Window. Choosing the proper tank in the first place will help you. Airflow keeps excess moisture from building up. If you’ve done that, open the windows in the room as this will help to reduce the humidity.
- Relocate The Water Bowl. Remember how you moved a water bowl under the heat lamp? Now get it AWAY. Keep all of the water on the cool side of the tank.
- Use a Smaller Water Bowl. Similar to relocating the water bowl, using a smaller water bowl will help to reduce the humidity levels. When there is less water in the tank, the humidity should lower as a result.
- Consider a Different Substrate. Many substrates hold moisture well. That’s fine until you’re struggling with high humidity levels. Bark and coconut fibres are the worst offenders. Swap them out until you have better control. You can head over to our recommended substrates page to see which substrates we suggest you use…
- Reduce Misting. Your beardie may love it, but misting adds water vapor. Until those humidity levels drop, stopping misting is recommended.
- Use a Mesh Top For The Tank. Providing a mesh top to the tank will allow moisture to leave the tank and therefore lower the humidity levels.
- Turn Up The Air Conditioning. You may also consider turning the air conditioning UP. Lower temperatures mean LESS water vapor. This will obviously only be relevant if you have an air-con system in your home.
- Add a Sock Full Of Rice to The Tank. A sock full of rice should work. Keep it AWAY from your beardie, though. If they eat the rice, they’ll get an impaction (and we’re avoiding health problems).
- Remove Live Plants. If you’re still seeing high humidity, you may need to swap out for plastic plants. STILL fighting? Do you have plants in the room? Move them somewhere else.
- Check Hygrometer Placement. As we mentioned earlier, the placement of the hygrometer can affect the reading of the relative humidity in the tank. Moving the hygrometer closer or further away from a basking lamp will cause different readings so it’s important to make sure your placement is correct.
- Use a Dehumidifier. When all else fails, you need to PULL humidity from the air. You can start with the room (dehumidifiers go on sale during the summer months). However, you may need to narrow the focus to the enclosure.
The dehumidifier we recommend is the ‘Eva-dry E-500 Renewable Mini Dehumidifier’.
The dehumidifier is safe for your beardie and it’s also small, discrete and affordable.
All in all, it’s a great dehumidifier if you need to reduce the humidity levels.
You can check the Eva-Dry E-500 dehumidifier below…
- Environmentally Safe
- No Messy Spills or Refills to buy EVER!
Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Can Bearded Dragons Die from Incorrect Humidity Levels?
Playing around with humidity sounds stressful. And if you’re struggling with high or low levels, you may feel like throwing in the towel. How bad can those health complications be? They aren’t fatal, right?
Allowed to succumb to health issues from low or high humidity levels, bearded dragons may suffer complications that CAN be fatal. This is why it’s so important to strive to meet the range of 30-40%. Incorrect humidity levels have dangerous consequences.
On the low humidity end of the spectrum, dehydration and kidney disease may cause your bearded dragon to die. And while not fatal, no one wants to see their beardie lose toes or limbs due to a shedding problem.
When it comes to high humidity levels, every infection – fungal, mold, or bacterial – requires a lengthy course of injections and medications.
Untreated, your beardie will pass away. Even with treatment, some infections may not resolve. Respiratory infections, in particular, tend to be severe.
The gamble’s too much of a risk. With tricks and tips to correct unacceptable humidity levels, you’re better off putting in the extra work.
Humidity is a four-letter word – for most people. But with a comfortable range between 30-40%, bearded dragons stay comfortable and healthy.
You may need to finagle their enclosure or your room (or both), but that happy “medium” is manageable.
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