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High humidity for hatchling...am I doing something wrong?

Discussion in 'Debatable Topics' started by pdrobber, Feb 15, 2013.

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  1. pdrobber

    pdrobber Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    So we have heard great things about smooth growth and healthy hydration when there is high humidity in the young tortoise's enclosure...

    However, recently, wasn't there a discussion about tortoises that were raised using a "dryer" method and then being introduced to the "wet/humid" method suddenly and facing problems like respiratory infections from all the moisture and such...and we have heard of tortoises that were living in enclosures with high humidity becoming dehydrated when removed from these conditions...

    well, I bought a Leopard hatchling a few months ago and he/she has been thriving on greens, eating daily, temps from 80s-90s consistently with an always humid hide, and a choice of moss, cypress or coconut coir substrate to hide into, all always kept moist.

    I run the warm mist humidifier almost every night, to the point that most of the night it is full of water vapor/fog/mist/steam whatever you want to call it, and there are water droplets gathering on the glass. Within a few minutes of turning it off, the water droplets evaporate and the air clears up and you can see right through it. There is still substantial humidity in the hide, with water droplets on the roof of it and when my hand goes in I can feel the humidity. Still, everyday, it seems my little one has his/her eyes closed, as if sickly and dehydrated with an URI, and doesn't eat or open the eyes until the humidifier is turned back on...

    So, could me using this warm mist humidifier technique at such a young age, and so often, be making this hatchling depend on the high humidity to feel comfortable (as if still in an egg or something), behave normally, and even breathe/function normally? If the norm were not quite so humid, could it be more adjusted to be comfortable with less humidity?

    Remember this tortoise is still eating and moving about, eyes open and clear, but only when the humidifier is on...
  2. wellington

    wellington Well-Known Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    I don't have much experience with this stuff. One leopard is all I have. Just wondering though. You say it's a warm mist humidifier. Could it be the enclosure is warmer when the humidifier is on and that is making the temps correct and also the correct humidity needed and so making the tortoise comfortable. The humidifier is off and the temps and humidity drop to an uncomfortable level? That's what I would figure. BTW, when my leopard was young and after I found TFO and Tom, I made my Leo a humid tote and connected it to one not as humid. Up until he was one, he used the humid tote 90% of the time. After a year, he chose to spend his time about 50/50 between the two. At about 15-18 months, I changed his whole enclosure. His temps are the same, not lower then 80 however, the humidity is not as high and I let the substrate dry out in about half the enclosure and soak every other day instead of everyday as I did when under a year.
  3. pdrobber

    pdrobber Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    temps are the same day and night, only difference is MVB during the day and CHE at night. However, day when humidifier is off, lethargic, eyes closed. Daytime with humidifier on, active, alert. Use heat mats under the hide and water bowl to ensure proper temps. I'm stumped lol.
  4. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I've never experienced the problems you mentioned, but I'd love to figure out what is going on with yours.

    So the temperature everywhere in your enclosure at night is in the 80's?

    Are you running the humidifier at night?

    Is your enclosure open topped?

    Where did you get this tortoise and how was it started before you go it?

    A few possibilities:
    1. RIs are usually caused by low temps. In an open topped enclosure with a humidifier running all night in winter would be evaporating an awful lot. Evaporation cools things. This is why I asked if you are sure the whole enclosure never drops below 80. If the condensation disappears that quickly, you are evaporating a LOT of water. How and where are you measuring temps?

    2. I never run humidifiers at night. I run them during the day, when things are all warm, if I run them at all. No need for them at night if your tortoise is using its humid hide.

    3. I'm sure you've seen my opinions about starting babies. If its done too dry, it can cause all sorts of problems later on. I have no idea if this is your issue. Just throwing out possibilities.
  5. pdrobber

    pdrobber Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    thanks for you input Tom.

    temps are measured constantly at ground level with two probe thermometers and spot checked with two infrared handheld guns.

    right now, 88 on the side where the humid hide is, also the side where warm mist enters. 96 on the side of the CHE/MVB and water dish. It's been on for a few hours now, and water droplets have formed on top and sides and mist has filled it so that I can't see through the other side.

    topped with aluminum foil above the CHE & MVB and topped with a plastic lid on the remaining part. Not an airtight seal but covered enough to trap the humidity in and cause water droplets on the sides of the tank.

    Got him/her from AZ Tort Compound. Pretty sure they soak but not sure of the enclosure specifics.

    It seems only half of the nights out of the week he/she finds his/her way back to the hide when the humidifier and/or lights go off
  6. Dizisdalife

    Dizisdalife Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    This is an interesting problem. I wish I had some insight, but unfortunately I do not. It does seem to me that most members that use foggers have them on timers so that they run for a set duration several times a day.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    I don't know how they start their babies. You'll have to ask them how often your baby was soaked and if it was left outside all day, as many from AZ do. Not everyone on this forum agrees with the humid and hydrated methods that I advocate. Only ATC can answer that.

    I would try only running the humidifier periodically during the day, and stopping it in the late afternoon. Or if things are staying humid enough, just quit running it all together. I don't run them in my closed chambers. Just don't need it.

    Is your ambient heat on a thermostat? Seems unlikely, but maybe its too warm. I maintain an ambient of 80, and a hot spot of around 100 for 12 hours a day. You said temps in the 80s-90s. Is that all over, or is it only in the 90s near the heat lamp?

    Again, just running through some possibilities here.
  8. sibi

    sibi Well-Known Member

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    Tell me a little about the humidifier you are using. With warm vapors, as oppose to cool, there's always a risk of bacteria growing inside the unit. If, for instance, you had this humidifier stored away for a while, or you don't clean it out periodically, bacteria will grow in it. If that's what's going on, that can explain why she's sickly at times. It may have nothing to do with not using the humidifier at all. Just something to think about. Try an experiment. Clean out her whole enclosure and the humidifier should be sanitized. Use the humidifier only during the day. Clean the humidifier daily after each use. Do that for one week straight. Then, for the second week, don't use the humidifier at all. If you need to mist her enclosure, use a clean spray bottle. If she's fine both weeks, it's likely the humidifier. If she still gets sickly without the humidifier, it truly would be a mystery.
  9. pdrobber

    pdrobber Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    80s-90s are near the CHE/MVB and near the heat mat. just checked the are between and its at 80 exactly.

    I have been using Brita filtered water in the humidifier and the humidifier has a filter itself. I may try using it only during the day however to see if this middle area of the enclosure drops below 80 which would mean cool and high humidity and problems.
  10. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    So you have a CHE on one side and a MVB on the other? This sounds great during the day, but what happens at night when the MVB is off and only one side of the enclosure is getting heat?

    Jeez, I don't want the tone of my questions to sound wrong. I'm just doing a little long distance sleuthing here. Trying to figure this out. I know that you have the right temp measuring equipment and I do not think you are a dunce.

    Peter, maybe there is such a thing as too much humidity. I have never encountered it here in my super dry area, but maybe things are different in your part of the world, or maybe the humidifier has just been running too much. I have never heard of any one running it at night, and/or continuously. I just know when I ran them it was only for a few minutes a few times during the hot part of the day, and I never encountered anything but good health, good appetite and good vigor with around 80 leopard hatchlings, roughly 300 sulcata hatchlings and 7 CDT hatchlings. Something is different in your set up. It could be some detail of your husbandry, or it could be how the baby was started. Those are the only two possibilities I see.

    Whatever is going on, I hope we are able to discover the issue and solve the problem.
  11. pdrobber

    pdrobber Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Che and mvb are on the same side. Just above the water dish. The other side has the humid hide and heat mat underneath.
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