Are you among those people who do thorough homework before bringing a cute little reptile home as a pet? If yes, then you are in the right place. People are fond of keeping these friendly little creatures as their pets but often assume that the job is done by simply buying one and bringing them home.
One such reptile which is popular for being kept as a pet is a leopard gecko. Before bringing a leopard gecko with you, you must understand well and in detail the various factors affecting their survival like the food they eat, the food they dislike and the environmental settings which they require for their growth and healthy life.
Most of the people fail at this part and the only reason why their leopard gecko survives is that it is hardy. But I am sure that you won’t like to see your pet suffering because of your negligence.
Hence, in today’s article, I will discuss with you the importance of a moist hide for your leopard gecko and will also share ways about how you can build your own leopard gecko’s moist hide.
Before discussing the ways you can build your leopard gecko moist hide let us first understand why it is required in the first place.
Why is a Moist Hide required by leopard gecko?
Usually found in the countries of India, Iraq, Iran and other Asian countries, leopard geckos are supposed to naturally belong to desert habitat. Though this is true it does not indicates that they do not require humidity and love to live in a habitat full of sand.
Clearing your knowledge let me tell you, that they belong to a stone desert.
Belonging to a stone desert signifies that they have a lot of place hide in their natural habitat and like hiding between the stones.
If we talk about the leopard gecko humidity of the natural environment they belong to we can certainly say that the level of humidity ranges from 75-80% in summers and to 60-70% in winters.
Thus, your leopard gecko likes hiding in moist holes.
Just like humans need water to regulate their body temperature, your leopard gecko requires a moist habitat to regulate its body temperature. This implies that their habitat should not be hot but warm.
Try refraining from putting it under a lamp as this will dry out all the moisture thus leaving it hot and without adequate moisture.
The temperature in leopard gecko moist hide should be between 83 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 28-32 degrees Celsius.
They also require an adequate amount of moisture while shedding. This is the most common health problem faced by your pet friend. Hence provide your leopard gecko a moist hide with humidity levels ranging between 70 to 80%.
When it comes to female leopard geckos they need a moist hide to lay their eggs. If you have only a female leopard gecko and not a male leopard gecko then your female leopard gecko will lay unfertilized eggs.
These unfertilized eggs require a moist environment with a certain moist substrate.
While placing the moist hide in your leopard gecko’s tank you might end up being confused as to where it should ideally be placed.
In such a case always keep a note to place it where it is warm. Placing it in the cooler side of the tank will make it colder for your leopard gecko.
How to build a leopard gecko moist hide yourself?
If you are planning to build a moist hide for your leopard gecko then always keep in mind that it should not be too small. The size should be adequate enough to provide ample space for your leopard gecko to move freely.
Hence, don’t go for a half coconut shell or a cricket box to create a moist hide for your leopard gecko as your leopard gecko requires a big moist hide for itself.
Leopard Gecko Moist Hide Options
There are various ways using which you can build a big moist hide for your leopard gecko pet.
- You can buy a commercial moist hide from a store for your leopard gecko.
- Using a plastic container as a moist hide for your leopard gecko.
- Old containers that can stand heat like single-use plastic containers for temporary use.
- A glass with entry and adequate humidity.
Do not use hard plastic containers like lunchboxes as you will have to cut various holes in it which will have sharp edges and can end up hurting your leopard gecko.
You can use different types of substrates to build a leopard gecko moist hide at home for your pet.
Substrates for Building a Moist Hideout
You can use either coconut fiber, paper towels or sphagnum moss as a substrate for making a big moist hideout for your leopard gecko.
Paper Towels as Substrate: Though paper towels are a good option to be used as a moist hide substrate, the biggest problem in using them is that they don’t appear to be natural.
It is good to use paper towels as a substrate for young leopard geckos as there is no risk of impaction with them.
The alternative to this is a moist cloth towel which can be used to create a hideout with adequate humidity for your leopard gecko.
Whether you use a paper towel or a cloth towel don’t forget to change it at regular intervals say weekly or in fifteen days depending on the hygiene of the towel.
Coconut Fiber as Substrate:
It is suitable for female leopard geckos who is about to lay eggs and is also easy for digging and burrowing.
They are comparatively more natural options to build a leopard gecko moist hide within the tank but do have certain drawbacks.
The biggest drawback of using coconut or coco fiber as a substrate is that it becomes dusty when it gets dry as a result your pet might end up inhaling it or swallowing it.
It also has the risk of impaction and hence is not suitable for grown-up leopard geckos.
Also if it is too wet it will end up becoming moldy.
Just like paper-towel, you will need to change it at regular intervals.
Sphagnum Moss as Substrate: This is certainly the best option to be used when building a moist hideout for your leopard gecko as it holds moisture for a longer duration owing to its antimicrobial properties.Also, it is one of the most natural ways to build a hideout home compared to the other two options mentioned earlier in the article.
You can create a hideout by placing sphagnum moss or about 2 inches in the tank and make it moist by spraying water on it. Make sure that you do not soak it in water and make it dripping hence spraying is always suggested over-soaking when using sphagnum moss as a substrate. It is natural and even if the water evaporates you need not worry about it.
The sphagnum moss should be clean and free from sticks or twigs. Take a note of it before placing it in the tank. However, it is not good to use sphagnum moss if your female leopard gecko is about to lay eggs as it is difficult for them to dig a sphagnum moss. Also, make sure that it should be free from pesticides and other chemicals that can be harmful to your leopard gecko.
Cleaning the Moist Hide
Just building a moist hide for your leopard gecko and forgetting it is not an option. You need to take care of it by cleaning it at regular intervals. The method and the frequency of cleaning the leopard gecko moist hide depend on the material used in creating it. If it is a plastic container it can be easily cleaned. If it is made up of wood it might require more time to clean. Make sure that the hideout of your leopard gecko is always clean and sterile.
As mentioned you now know that a moist hide is extremely important for your leopard gecko and that they really need it. You can buy a hideout from the market or build one at the ease of your home depending on your own preferences and budget. Keep a check on the health of the moist hideout you build by regular cleaning.