Healthy Bearded Dragons: Humidity Control Guide

Achieving the perfect humidity levels for a Bearded Dragon is an important role for a reptile owner. 

These levels need to be correct for not only comfort but for the overall health and welfare of your Bearded Dragon.

I’m going to give you all the information you’ll need to provide your beardie with the optimal levels of humidity and how to maintain it.

Ideal Humidity Levels For Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragons originate from semi-arid deserts across Australia, meaning they’re accustomed to specific levels of humidity.

The optimum humidity levels range between 30%-40%, remaining in these ranges will replicate their natural habitat to keep your Bearded Dragon happy and thriving in its tank.

How To Monitor Humidity Levels

You’ll need to invest in a high quality hygrometer, these tools accurately measure levels of water vapor in the air.

There are three types of hygrometers to pick from, it’s down to personal preference on which one you decide to purchase.

Here is a breakdown of the three types of hygrometer;

Psychrometer

The psychrometer measures the humidity in the air by using two thermometers, one of which has a wet cloth around its bulb. 

The wet bulb works on the principle, as the air temperature decreases, its ability to hold moisture decreases. And as the air temperature increases, its ability to hold moisture increases.

The dry bulb of a psychrometer is simply a thermometer measuring the air temperature. It doesn’t have any wet cloth or any other material influencing the temperature reading. 

The dry bulb thermometer provides a reference for the wet bulb temperature reading, allowing for the calculation of relative humidity.

The difference between the temperature readings of the two bulbs is used to determine the relative humidity of the air. The smaller the difference between the two bulbs, the higher the relative humidity. 

This means if the difference is small, there is a lot of moisture in the air, and it feels more humid. But if the difference is big, there is not much moisture in the air, and it feels drier.

Digital Hygrometer

Digital hygrometers use electronic sensors to measure relative humidity.

The most common type of digital hygrometer uses a capacitive sensor consisting of two metal plates with a dielectric material between them. 

As humidity changes, the sensor stores electrical charges, and the capacitance changes. By measuring this capacitance, the hygrometer can determine the relative humidity of the air.

I prefer the use of a digital hygrometer as the readings are easier to understand and some of the more expensive ones can give you live readings by syncing the device to your mobile phone.

Mechanical Hygrometer

A mechanical hygrometer is a device used to measure relative humidity, unlike digital hygrometers, mechanical hygrometers use physical mechanisms to measure relative humidity.

A common type of mechanical hygrometer is the hair hygrometer. This type of hygrometer uses human hair or horsehair treated to be sensitive to changes in humidity. 

The hair is attached to a metal frame, and as the relative humidity changes, the hair expands or contracts. This movement is transmitted to a needle or other indicator, which shows the relative humidity on a scale.

Consequences Of Too High Humidity Levels

It’s important to closely monitor and maintain the environment your beardie is living in, you’ll need to keep it as close to its natural habitat as much as possible. Failing to do so can lead to a shorter lifespan because of;

  • Respiratory infections
  • Bacteria and fungi buildup
  • Septicemia

How To Lower Humidity Levels

Maintaining constant humidity levels can be difficult, I am going to give you 5 easy to achieve tactics to lower the humidity if it does become too high.

Increase Ventilation

By increasing the airflow, you’ll lower the humidity levels in the tank quickly, this can be achieved by;

  • Moving the tank to a location with more naturally occurring airflow
  • Place a fan towards the tank
  • Using a mesh lid

Water Bowl Placement

As the tank will be at high temperatures to replicate its natural habitat, water will evaporate into the air increasing the humidity.

This can be lowered by;

Moving the water bowl to the cool side of the tank away from the heaters, preventing the evaporating of the water.

If this tactic doesn’t work, you’ll have to remove the water bowl altogether. Taking away the water bowl is fine to do as long as you have regular misting schedules for your Bearded Dragon to keep them hydrated.

Switch Substrate

Some substrates can increase the humidity of the tank, the usual substrates causing this is bioactive, coconut, and bark. 

My article on Bearded Dragon Substrates covers the best substrates to use within the enclosures.

Mist Outside The Tank

When misting your Bearded Dragon, I recommend doing this outside of the tank, this avoids the humidity levels spiking. 

However, if you’re unable to remove your Bearded Dragon for the misting process, stop misting altogether until the humidity levels are back under control and lower the amount of misting you do per week to prevent the rise of humidity from reoccurring.

Remove Live Plants

Live plants are a common cause of increased humidity levels, the simple fix to these is either move them further away from the heat source or remove them altogether.

Live plants are nice decorations for the tank but the safety and welfare of your Bearded Dragon are far more important. 

Consequences Of Too Low Humidity Levels

It’s important to closely monitor and maintain the environment your beardie is living in, you’ll need to keep it as close to its natural habitat as much as possible. If the levels drop below 30°F the potential consequences are;

  • Problems shedding
  • Femoral pore blockage
  • Constipation
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Dehydration

How To Increase Humidity Levels

Maintaining constant humidity levels is difficult, even for experienced reptile enthusiasts. I am going to give you 3 easy to achieve tactics to increase the humidity if it does drop below 30°F.

Place Water Next To The Hot Side Of The Tank

This approach works wonders when wanting to increase the humidity levels quickly. All you’ll need to do is move the water bowl nearer the warmer side of the tank and then the evaporation process will begin.

Mist Inside The Tank

When misting your Bearded Dragon, you can also mist the walls and decorations to raise the humidity levels. This also provides a great method for keeping your beardie hydrated as they’ll lick up water droplets they come across.

Pro Tip: I recommend using purified or bottled water when misting your Bearded Dragon, this is more beneficial for your beardies overall health as it alleviates the risk of contaminants in the water.

Add Live Plants Too Habitat

Live plants naturally generate moisture into the air, which in the habitat will raise the humidity levels quickly.

These 3 methods are easy to achieve and are critical to ensuring your Bearded Dragons habitat is supporting their requirements.

Summary

The correct humidity levels for Bearded Dragons are 30°F-40°F, you can monitor the levels with a hygrometer.

What to do if humidity levels are too high;

  • Increase Ventilation
  • Move Water Bowl Away From Heat Source
  • Switch Substrate
  • Mist Outside The Tank
  • Remove Live Plants

What to do if humidity levels are too low;

  • Move Water Bowl Closer To Heat Source
  • Mist Inside The Tank
  • Add Live Plants To Habitat

For further information read my Bearded Dragon Care Guide.