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Newbie with question about humidity for children's python

Alicerose

New Member
Hi everyone! I am very new to keeping snakes, I recently purchased a marbled children's python (about 8 months old) and I just have a quick question for anyone about humidity. The temperature of the tank is fine - usually around 30 degrees but the humidity is often in the mid to low 40s. I am just wondering if that is ok or if I need to mist the tank daily to keep the humidity more in the area of 50 odd. If anyone has any answers, I would really appreciate it!
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
It is unusual to have such low humidity at this time of year. Determining the reason for it will help to guide you as to what to do. Three possibilities spring to mind. Your location may be inland in a particularly dry climate. Knowing your general location would help here. The enclosure may be positioned in an air-conditioned room and non-evaporative air conditioners remove moisture from the air. If neither of these applies, then I would get the hydrometer you are using checked for accuracy.

There are several ways to increase humidity. Provide a water bowl with a larger surface, which will allow more evaporation to take place. Move the water bowl towards the warmer end of the enclosure, which will increase the rate of evaporation. Reduce the amount of ventilation to retain moistened air for longer. Provide a moist hide, such as a box lined with dampened sphagnum moss and an entry hole just large enough for the snake to get through easily.

I would recommend not misting. If misting is done too heavily or too often it can generate condensation, which may lead to health issues. Just make sure you provide clean fresh water in the water bowl three times a week.

I assume the single temperature you have given is an average. One would normally give three temperature readings for an enclosure – air temperature at the warmer end and cooler end, and the surface temperature of the basking /hot spot. For a Children’s python a good range during daytime heating would be 25 to 33 degrees, with a basking spot of 35 degrees. They don’t have to be exact, just close to those.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
40 is very low. Some parts of Australia do often experience lower than usual humidity at this time of year but it would be surprising if you had humidity that low inside an enclosure, assuming you have a water bowl and an animal in there.

A larger water bowl is usually the easiest answer, or reducing the amount of ventilation (assuming you currently have a lot; if you don't already have a lot of ventilation, go with a larger water bowl rather than reducing the ventilation further).

You may simply be having an error with your measurements. If the snake is sloughing without issue you'll probably find the humidity is actually fine and the device you're measuring it with is not functioning properly.
 

Shaggers89

Active Member
40 is very low. Some parts of Australia do often experience lower than usual humidity at this time of year but it would be surprising if you had humidity that low inside an enclosure, assuming you have a water bowl and an animal in there.

A larger water bowl is usually the easiest answer, or reducing the amount of ventilation (assuming you currently have a lot; if you don't already have a lot of ventilation, go with a larger water bowl rather than reducing the ventilation further).

You may simply be having an error with your measurements. If the snake is sloughing without issue you'll probably find the humidity is actually fine and the device you're measuring it with is not functioning properly.
It is unusual to have such low humidity at this time of year. Determining the reason for it will help to guide you as to what to do. Three possibilities spring to mind. Your location may be inland in a particularly dry climate. Knowing your general location would help here. The enclosure may be positioned in an air-conditioned room and non-evaporative air conditioners remove moisture from the air. If neither of these applies, then I would get the hydrometer you are using checked for accuracy.

There are several ways to increase humidity. Provide a water bowl with a larger surface, which will allow more evaporation to take place. Move the water bowl towards the warmer end of the enclosure, which will increase the rate of evaporation. Reduce the amount of ventilation to retain moistened air for longer. Provide a moist hide, such as a box lined with dampened sphagnum moss and an entry hole just large enough for the snake to get through easily.

I would recommend not misting. If misting is done too heavily or too often it can generate condensation, which may lead to health issues. Just make sure you provide clean fresh water in the water bowl three times a week.

I assume the single temperature you have given is an average. One would normally give three temperature readings for an enclosure – air temperature at the warmer end and cooler end, and the surface temperature of the basking /hot spot. For a Children’s python a good range during daytime heating would be 25 to 33 degrees, with a basking spot of 35 degrees. They don’t have to be exact, just close to those.
If the snake is shedding with out any problems then replace the tool your measuring with if its not easiest way to increase humidity as Blue tongue and sdaji said is to replace the water bowl with a much b igger one
 

Alicerose

New Member
Thanks very much for your help! I have moved the water bowl to the warm side.

I live in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Humidity has been around 60%-70% this week according to WeatherZone, but always around 40% to 50% in the tank. We have gas central heating, which might dry the air a little.

It's a beginner enclosure, so I just have heat pad on one side. That's where the temp and humidity are measured. It goes up to about 32 in the day and down to about 22 at night. I haven't got a thermometer on the cold side.

I have only had the snake a week, so I haven't seen it shedding. Basically - should I worry about this or just see how things get on? Would more direct sunlight on the tank be helpful?

Thanks again.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Do not ever, ever put a reptile enclosure in direct sunlight, unless you're working with an open air, outdoor enclosure. Something like a glass enclosure or glass-fronted wooden enclosure in direct sun can very easily become an oven and quickly heat up to lethal temperatures.

The temperatures don't sound appropriate. I'm not sure what a 'beginner enclosure' is, but whatever you're using, especially as a beginner, you want your heat source to be on a thermostat. If your temperature is going down to 22 at night without a thermostat your heat source isn't strong enough, and when the weather gets warmer later in the year you may find that it overheats. Keep in mind that direct sunlight near a window (which is extremely dangerous) would not do anything to increase night time temperatures and would actually make the nights more cold, since the area near the window will be more affected by the cold outdoor temperatures at night. Outside temperatures fluctuate more than the temperatures inside your house.

Yes, temperature is by far the most important thing to focus on as a reptile keeper, and it's worth getting right.
 

Herptology

Donator
Donator
Trusted Seller
I would have thought the easiest way to increase humidity would be to spray enclosure with Luke warm water

As sdaji said, glass + sunlight is a nono and will cook your snake
 

Shaggers89

Active Member
I would have thought the easiest way to increase humidity would be to spray enclosure with Luke warm water

As sdaji said, glass + sunlight is a nono and will cook your snake
exactly and trust me its something you dont want to see ive come across more than one animal that was bought as a present etc that it has happened to its not pretty. Glass and heat aint a good idea think what happens to an ant when you channel sunlight through Glass (never done it thats just cruel) the same idea happens to the snake
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
I would have thought the easiest way to increase humidity would be to spray enclosure with Luke warm water

As sdaji said, glass + sunlight is a nono and will cook your snake

This is not an easy way. It requires constant work and if you don't get it right every time it's easy to end up not being enough, or more likely, resulting in damp conditions which can cause skin rot among other things. Getting right right balance between ventilation and water bowl size is far easier, more forgiving, and requires no daily attention etc.

I recommend keeping the water at the cool end. Putting the water bowl at the hot end will indeed raise the humidity, but keeping the water cool will keep it fresher longer, and keeping the water at the cool end assists in keeping the cool end cool; the water stays below ambient temperature and acts as an evaporative cooler. It also provides a safety net in case the temperatures get too hot for any reason. If the water bowl is at the hot end none of this functions properly. The larger the water bowl, the greater these effects are if it's at the cool end.
 

Alicerose

New Member
Hi Sdaji, no, the enclosure is not in direct sunlight. I was just asking in regard to humidity.

The water here in winter is very cold out of the tap, so a little warming won't hurt it, I think, since other people have suggested this solution. I'll just use a water spray as a backup.

I have been told by the seller - Kellyville Pets - that the day temperature should be around 32 and it's OK to fall at night to 22. Is that not right? I can adjust the heat pad to create higher or lower temperatures.

This is the enclosure: https://www.kellyvillepets.com.au/collections/reptile-enclosures/products/wooden-vivarium-45x29x15cm. I will move to a bigger enclosure (with perhaps things like a thermostat) in 6 months.

Thanks for being helpful - I'm new to this, so this forum is helpful for me to get everything right.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
Hi Sdaji, no, the enclosure is not in direct sunlight. I was just asking in regard to humidity.

The water here in winter is very cold out of the tap, so a little warming won't hurt it, I think, since other people have suggested this solution. I'll just use a water spray as a backup.

I have been told by the seller - Kellyville Pets - that the day temperature should be around 32 and it's OK to fall at night to 22. Is that not right? I can adjust the heat pad to create higher or lower temperatures.

This is the enclosure: https://www.kellyvillepets.com.au/collections/reptile-enclosures/products/wooden-vivarium-45x29x15cm. I will move to a bigger enclosure (with perhaps things like a thermostat) in 6 months.

Thanks for being helpful - I'm new to this, so this forum is helpful for me to get everything right.

The temperature out of the tap doesn't matter; it'll only take minutes or barely more to come to steady state with the temperature in the enclosure. For the reasons I described, it's best to keep the water at the cool end. Your snake, your choice, I can't force you.

Whether or not it's okay for the whole temperature of the enclosure to fall to 22 at night depends on many things, but for a beginner you really should have a thermostat (virtually all keepers including highly experienced ones use them for pythons, and it's certainly easier and less risky). For a juvenile Children's Python at your level of experience, I wouldn't recommend letting the warm end get down to 22 degrees.
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
Thanks for the extra information – it certainly helps.

Your gas heating will not remove moisture from the air. Without going into the technical details, just warming air, without changing the amount of moisture present, does decrease the relative humidity. However, given the figures you quoted for outside R.H. and the nature of your enclosure, I strongly suspect that your hygrometer is not accurate. It needs to be checked to determine this. This is something you can do yourself or you can return it to the store and get them to do it.

If you do wish to check it yourself, the instructions are available on the net, such as in wikiHow. It is quite simple to do and only requires a common stuff you’ll have in the house. As this test is very accurate, it can be used to recalibrate your hydrometer if that’s all that is wrong with it. Even before you do that, if want a quick rough idea, use your hygrometer to measure the RH in the house. Then place it outside in an open but sheltered spot, and compare what it reads with the current Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reading for your town - just google BOM plus your town name and select “Latest Weather Observations”.

You said you moved the water bowl to the warm end. My wording was to move it towards the warm end. I would not recommend going more than half-way for any extended time. This is also more of ‘quick fix’ while you follow up one or more of the other options, such as until you can purchase a larger water bowl. By the way, the water bowl should be big enough for the snake soak its entire body in without spilling water over the edge.


Using a heat mat you won’t have a basking / hot spot. So apologise if I confused you with that. There also seems to be a bit miscommunication going on about heating. To try and overcome that I’ll go through it from the basics, if that’s OK.

The preferred body temperature (PBT) for Childrens is usually quoted at 30 degrees or close to it. The idea is that thermal gradient should start at a few degrees above PBT and go down as low as practical. This then allows the snake to heat itself to a few degrees above PBT, as it would in nature, as it will lose heat once it is off and hunting. This also allows a hide to be placed at PBT, where the snake can remain for extended periods in comfort, be it to digest or just for security.

The notion of placing a hide partially on partially off the heating area is misguided. Put a a hide fully on the heating area by all means and the snake can warm up while feeling secure. It should then be able to move somewhere else at the desired temperature and feel secure without having to shuttle continuously back and forth, balancing heating against security.

With pythons it is recommended to maintain the day time heating regime 24/7 for approximately the first 12 months. After that, night time heating can be reduced or dispensed with entirely, depending. A maximum drop of about 5 degree in the overall temperature gradient at night is OK. Given Childrens are of tropical origin the cool end should not consistently drop below about 20 degrees during the winter months, otherwise you need supplemental heating at night.

Please lets us know how you go with the hygrometer.
 

CF Constrictor

Active Member
Hi Alicerose
I keep capet pythons , and the humidity in my enclosures stays around 30 - 35% most of the time. I usualy lightly mist the enclosures once a day, only when the inhabitant is obviously in preshed. Have never had any issues shedding skin.
Good luck.
Hi everyone! I am very new to keeping snakes, I recently purchased a marbled children's python (about 8 months old) and I just have a quick question for anyone about humidity. The temperature of the tank is fine - usually around 30 degrees but the humidity is often in the mid to low 40s. I am just wondering if that is ok or if I need to mist the tank daily to keep the humidity more in the area of 50 odd. If anyone has any answers, I would really appreciate it!
 

Bluetongue1

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
I thought I had posted this but obviously something went awry...
One thing that you have not mentioned you have, and it really is an essential tool in keeping, is a thermometer. I have heard a number of stories of those new to keeping being told that the temperature setting on a thermostat or heating element is sufficient. That is straight out poor advice. There is not only the issue of just how accurate these devices are in measuring temperature, but also where they are positioned and what may or may not be on top of them, affecting what they are actually measuring. A keeper needs to know, with accuracy, the ambient temperature at both ends of the enclosure, as experienced by an occupant. This can only be reliably determined by using a thermometer. Only then can the keeper adjust the heat source and ventilation to achieve the correct thermal gradient. (They may even have to reposition the enclosure or add/ subtract insulation around it etc.) The thermometer will also be required to check effects of seasonal changes throughout the year.

I looked at temperature and relative humidity ranges for Katoomba over the last week, and it is possible your hygrometer may be accurate. Warming up air, without changing the amount of moisture in it, causes a reduction in relative humidity. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air. RH is a measure of how close to 100% saturated the air is and therefore goes down as the air temperature goes up, as it does when heated.

I really did not have my thinking cap on when writing my previous post. One can also put a separate container of water at the warm end to increase humidity. Sorry for not having thought of that earlier. As CFConstrictor pointed out, it’s really only shedding that low humidity might affect, and that’s when a moist hide or light misting can be used. Given the size and style of your enclosure, I would not have thought this would be needed. Hence the push to check out your hygrometer.

The bottom line is to see you feeling comfortable that you are providing ideal conditions for your snake, without you having to work too hard to achieve that. You should be able to relax and enjoy your critter. I apologise if it has come across differently to that.
 
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