If you’ve had a leopard gecko for a while, you’ve probably heard that you need to provide a moist hide for its tank. But how can you do this? Well, that’s what we’re going to teach you today.
What you need for this tutorial
To create an effective moist hide, you’ll need:
This is the most important thing you’ll need. It can be a small cardboard box, planter pot, or plastic container. You can even use a coconut shell that has been hollowed out. These natural options are more attractive to leopard geckos as they look like something they could use in the wild.
Whichever type of container you choose, don’t get anything made of glass. While glass containers retain moisture and heat, they can get too hot.
Another thing you need to keep in mind when choosing a container for a moist hide is its size. For best results, get something that is 2 to 3 times the size of your gecko.
This gives your leopard gecko enough space to move around while preventing heat loss.
Once you choose a suitable container for your gecko’s moist hide, you may need a pair of scissors to cut out an entrance for your gecko. Alternatively, you can use a sharp knife.
For your moist hide, you’ll need a substrate that can maintain moisture. As such, standard substrates like reptile carpet and gravel aren’t suitable.
Also, avoid grainy substrates like sand that can easily be ingested by geckos and cause impaction; these aren’t suitable for the rest of the tank anyway. Some popular substrate options are:
- Paper towels are great for baby leopard geckos, particularly because they can’t cause impaction. They are also easy to change. However, they don’t look natural and aren’t suitable for egg-laying females. These geckos will refuse to lay their eggs on them, putting them at a higher risk for egg binding. If you choose to use paper towels, opt for thick ones and ensure you replace them weekly.
- Coconut fiber – this substrate is popular because it’s natural and good for digging, making it great for egg-laying females. The problem with it is that it can easily be ingested and lead to impaction. Also, this becomes worse when it’s dried out and starts becoming dusty. What’s worse is that it gets moldy when kept too wet. As such, you’ll have to replace this substrate when it gets moldy or once every two weeks.
- Sphagnum moss – this is the best substrate for a moist hide. Not only is it natural and good at retaining moisture, but it’s also antimicrobial. But if you have an egg-laying female, you’ll have to add a layer of looser substrate on top of it. This will provide something for your leopard gecko to dig and lay their eggs on. If you choose to use sphagnum moss, you’ll have to wash it once every two weeks and then replace it every 3 months.
Step by Step Instructions (each step should be a new sub-header)
1. Choose a suitable spot for your moist hide
For best results, choose a spot on the warm side of the tank; avoid spots with overhead lights, though. Get a spot that has under-tank heating such as a heat mat instead. This will provide the necessary heat without getting the temperatures too high.
Keep in mind that placing the moist hide on the cool side of the tank will result in your leopard gecko developing respiratory issues.
2. Apply your substrate
Once you settle on a suitable spot, spread your chosen substrate on the area; ensure the covered area is large enough to accommodate your container. If your leopard gecko’s tank is covered in a reptile carpet or other lining, spread the substrate on top of it; just an inch would be enough.
But if it has a particle substrate like gravel, move it out of the way before applying your moist hide substrate. In this case, ensure that the moist hide substrate is the same thickness as the substrate applied to the rest of the tank.
3. Spray some water on the substrate
At this point, add some water to a spray bottle and use it to wet the substrate. Ensure that the substrate is damp but not runny. After all, excessive water in the hide will increase the chances of bacterial growth. On the other hand, a dry substrate will lower the humidity in the hide.
4. Cut out an entrance on the container (optional)
Since you will place a container with its open side into the substrate, you need to ensure that your leopard gecko will have a way to get out. So if the container doesn’t have another opening naturally, you’ll have to cut it out using scissors or a knife. If you do this, you’ll need to ensure that your cuts are smooth so that they don’t hurt your gecko.
5. Place the container on the substrate
Place the container’s open side on the substrate and push it in so it’s secure. You can even use some small rocks or extra substrate to hold the container in place.
Do you need a moist hide for leopard geckos?
Leopard geckos need moist hides for egg laying and proper shedding. The high humidity will make its skin soft and easy to shed.
Can you buy a moist hide?
You can buy a moist hide on Etsy. Alternatively, you can buy a reptile cave or shelter on Amazon and then fill it with a moist substrate.
What is the ideal temperature and humidity of a moist hide?
Since moist hides need to be on the warm side of the tank, their temperatures need to be kept at 83 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the humidity in these hides should be kept at 70% to 80%.
Why is your leopard gecko not using its moist hide?
This could happen because your leopard gecko isn’t used to its moist hide. Alternatively, it could be that the setup isn’t conducive for the gecko.
It could be of the wrong size or at the wrong temperature. So if you notice that your leopard gecko is avoiding its moist hide, double-check that you followed our instructions.
How do you clean a moist hide?
You should do this using warm soapy water; ensure that you use non-toxic soap. Once you’re done, thoroughly rinse the hide.
When it comes down to it, making a moist hide for your leopard gecko is easy if you follow instructions correctly. You just need a few items and some time.