How to Increase the Humidity in a Snake Cage

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Many popular pet snakes, such as this rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria), require humid cages.
Many popular pet snakes, such as this rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria), require humid cages. (Image: Ameng Wu/iStock/Getty Images)

You can raise the humidity of your snake’s cage in multiple ways, but the ultimate goal is always the same -- increase the amount of water you add to the cage or decrease the amount of water that escapes from the cage. You can accomplish this by utilizing a larger water bowl, misting the cage with water, reducing habitat ventilation or using a water-retaining substrate. Additionally, live plants will help to elevate the humidity in a snake cage.

Larger Water Receptacles

The simplest way to increase the humidity of your snake’s cage is to increase the size of the water bowl. A water container with a high amount of surface area works best, so opt for a low, wide water bowl rather than a tall, narrow container. Placing a water bowl near a heat source will increase the rate of evaporation, but this will also increase the rate at which you must add water.

Misting the Cage

Misting your snake’s cage everyday with room-temperature water increases cage humidity. Coat all of the internal surfaces with a light coating of water -- do not drench the cage. In addition to elevating the humidity, the act of misting often encourages snakes to drink and defecate, which makes it a helpful husbandry tool. In addition to misting the internal surfaces of the cage and all of the furniture, you can mist your snake directly. When misting your pet, use a gentle, fine mist setting on the spray bottle, and avoid spraying the snake in the face. Many snakes, particularly green tree pythons (Morelia viridis) and emerald tree boas (Corallus caninus) will drink droplets of water from their bodies.

Reducing Ventilation

When you add water to your snake’s cage, much of it eventually mixes with the air and escapes through the ventilation holes. While this is not a common problem associated with plastic cages, which normally feature an appropriate amount of ventilation, aquariums and glass cages often have too much ventilation. This superfluous airflow comes courtesy of the screened cage lids, which make it difficult to keep the humidity adequately high. To rectify this problem, cover approximately half of the screened lid with glass or plastic. This will reduce the evaporation rate of the cage and help raise the humidity.

Water-Retaining Substrates

Some substrates, such as cypress mulch and orchid bark, absorb significant amounts of water. Over time, they slowly release the water into the air, which helps to elevate habitat humidity. By incorporating these types of substrates in your snake’s cage, and wetting them regularly, you can keep the habitat consistently humid. Be careful not to add too much water to the cage -- while damp substrate is not a problem for humidity-loving species, few can tolerate perpetually wet conditions.

Live Plants

Through a process known as transpiration, plants draw water from the ground via their roots and release it into the air through small pores in the leaves. Snake keepers can use this process to raise the humidity inside the cage while reaping the ancillary benefits of improved aesthetics and additional hiding places for your pet. Golden pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum), ferns, bromeliads and snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) are some of the most common choices. You can keep the plants in pots or bury their roots in the substrate.

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