Leopards and Humidity

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myssie

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I recently p.m.ed Tom about humity and leopard torties and this was my answer that I am going to follow step by step. I wanted to post so all could see and gain from his experience. Thanks again Tom!!!! So great to have you and the others here to help me out. I am not only new to Leopards but the whole tortie world itself. So any help is greatly appriciated.

:D



For a while I was telling everyone everywhere to keep them humid to prevent pyramiding. I stopped because (I'm being very specific in how I word this) some people, in some areas, had trouble with upper respiratory tract infections some of the time. I don't know why this is yet. I think that the problem occurs when it is damp AND cold at the same time. So as long as they are kept warm round the clock, 75-80, I highly doubt you will ever see a problem. If you live in South Florida or Louisiana, you might want to be careful. If you live in Phoenix or the SoCal desert then there is no such thing as too humid.

Now most people I know have had no problem with keeping them humid and giving them a humid hide box. Richard Fife, THE authority on this matter keeps his with humidity and a humid hide box. When I get my next ones, I will keep them very humid.

Here's the thing. Up until 2007, no one had even heard of keeping them humid. To this day most reptile people still haven't. TFO is on the leading edge of this breakthrough and I give credit for it to Richard Fife. Prior to that the mantra was keep all desert species (leopards, sulcatas, CDTs) very dry, on a dry substrate or they will get an URTI. This is totally wrong, but ALL of us learned this over the last 2 or 3 decades and some don't want to realize we were wrong and move on. You don't have desert conditions down in a burrow or buried in a plants root ball, and that's where babies hang out.

When they are bigger, dry is fine and less risky for the ones that live outdoors where you might experience a cold spell. Those first couple of years, indoors, are the critical time. If you keep them dry, they WILL pyramid. I've done it so my times it makes me ill to think about it. I quit Leopards because of it. I have not had a Leopard since before I learned about the humidity thing in 2007. I've got some coming soon, but I actually have not raised a Leopard with humidity yet. That's my main reason for withholding comment. Sulcatas yes, Leopards, not yet. Richard Fife has raised hundreds of them with humidity and so have his customers over the last few years and he has had ZERO problems with URTIs. I'm telling you that I would keep them humid and watch out for nose bubbles or wheezing. If you see these signs, just switch them to a dry enclosure for a few days and, Voila! Problem goes away. Worse case a trip to the vet for some medicine.

Here's another option that is gaining ground in my mind. Keep them on a relatively dry substrate with a humid hide box or two AND pick them up and MIST them twice a day. Just wet down the shell until its dripping and put them back in their enclosure. This is a new thing from Richard and he believes that this alone will prevent pyramiding. Terry K. does this with his redfoots too. I've been doing this with my hatchling sulcatas and Daisy, my 3 year old sulcata. Richard is doing this on his hatchling leopards and likes the results so far.

Good luck and keep me posted on what you choose and how it works out for you. I am still, and always will be, learning too. Feel free to post these things on the forum with or without my name. I don't mind either way. I'd like everyone to have the benefit of these discussions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scooter, Bert, Delores, Daisy, Tulee, Tuck, Trey and Millie.
 

reptylefreek

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I was thinking about putting some moss in my leopards hide to help with humidity but i got to thinking about all that water it would hold and I wondered if that moss would stay warm. I also believe that cold humidity could create URI's. So I dont keep a humid hide for the leopard, i use the spraying method. But my sulcata has an under tank heater and he has a wet sponge attatched to the top of his hide, very good way to create warm humidity.
 

terracolson

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I have been keeping my humidity at 60 to 70 even 75 but 75 is a little to high for my comfort...
its only on the wow mom, you really poured in the water today!
 

Seiryu

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terracolson said:
I have been keeping my humidity at 60 to 70 even 75 but 75 is a little to high for my comfort...
its only on the wow mom, you really poured in the water today!

My substrate humidity is 50-70%, with my humid hide at 99%. I have had no issues yet myself. But the ambient room temperature during the day is 73-80, basking 93-100.

At night it's around 70-75. So he is kept a bit warmer than what I've read.
 

Kayti

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Seiryu said:
terracolson said:
I have been keeping my humidity at 60 to 70 even 75 but 75 is a little to high for my comfort...
its only on the wow mom, you really poured in the water today!

My substrate humidity is 50-70%, with my humid hide at 99%. I have had no issues yet myself. But the ambient room temperature during the day is 73-80, basking 93-100.

At night it's around 70-75. So he is kept a bit warmer than what I've read.

What are you guys using to measure humidity?
 

Kayti

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Seiryu said:
Kayti said:
What are you guys using to measure humidity?

I have a digital hygrometer/thermometer.

I'm using those cheap plastic gauges right now, and they're really awful.
Can anyone recommend me a source for a reliable digital one?

I am keeping my Leopard on half very moist half dry sphagnum, and watching very close for URI. The moist end is also the hot end. I'll post any results when I get them. :)
 

Tom

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Please remember that the cold/humid thing causing URTIs is only SPECULATION on my part. I really don't know why a very small number get a URTI while the vast majority don't. None of my Leopards in the past ever got a URTI , but they were all kept very dry.

I did see a lot of CDTs in or near the CA beach cities come down with URTIs when people tried to keep them outside, with no heat, in their backyards. The nights were very cold and damp there. I'm also under the impression that there is/was a nasty virus going around all the CDTs back then that contributed to this.

In Leopards, it might have nothing to do with humidity, or everything.
 

Lucas-Chaparron

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I have 2 baby Leopards and one of them doesnt look as smooth as the other.. n they r both born from the same mom at the same time.
Do u thiunk i should soak them everyday instead of every other day?
I soak them for 20 min every other day.. But maybe I should at least wet their shell everyday.. do u think that will stop the pyramiding?



myssie said:
I recently p.m.ed Tom about humity and leopard torties and this was my answer that I am going to follow step by step. I wanted to post so all could see and gain from his experience. Thanks again Tom!!!! So great to have you and the others here to help me out. I am not only new to Leopards but the whole tortie world itself. So any help is greatly appriciated.

:D



For a while I was telling everyone everywhere to keep them humid to prevent pyramiding. I stopped because (I'm being very specific in how I word this) some people, in some areas, had trouble with upper respiratory tract infections some of the time. I don't know why this is yet. I think that the problem occurs when it is damp AND cold at the same time. So as long as they are kept warm round the clock, 75-80, I highly doubt you will ever see a problem. If you live in South Florida or Louisiana, you might want to be careful. If you live in Phoenix or the SoCal desert then there is no such thing as too humid.

Now most people I know have had no problem with keeping them humid and giving them a humid hide box. Richard Fife, THE authority on this matter keeps his with humidity and a humid hide box. When I get my next ones, I will keep them very humid.

Here's the thing. Up until 2007, no one had even heard of keeping them humid. To this day most reptile people still haven't. TFO is on the leading edge of this breakthrough and I give credit for it to Richard Fife. Prior to that the mantra was keep all desert species (leopards, sulcatas, CDTs) very dry, on a dry substrate or they will get an URTI. This is totally wrong, but ALL of us learned this over the last 2 or 3 decades and some don't want to realize we were wrong and move on. You don't have desert conditions down in a burrow or buried in a plants root ball, and that's where babies hang out.

When they are bigger, dry is fine and less risky for the ones that live outdoors where you might experience a cold spell. Those first couple of years, indoors, are the critical time. If you keep them dry, they WILL pyramid. I've done it so my times it makes me ill to think about it. I quit Leopards because of it. I have not had a Leopard since before I learned about the humidity thing in 2007. I've got some coming soon, but I actually have not raised a Leopard with humidity yet. That's my main reason for withholding comment. Sulcatas yes, Leopards, not yet. Richard Fife has raised hundreds of them with humidity and so have his customers over the last few years and he has had ZERO problems with URTIs. I'm telling you that I would keep them humid and watch out for nose bubbles or wheezing. If you see these signs, just switch them to a dry enclosure for a few days and, Voila! Problem goes away. Worse case a trip to the vet for some medicine.

Here's another option that is gaining ground in my mind. Keep them on a relatively dry substrate with a humid hide box or two AND pick them up and MIST them twice a day. Just wet down the shell until its dripping and put them back in their enclosure. This is a new thing from Richard and he believes that this alone will prevent pyramiding. Terry K. does this with his redfoots too. I've been doing this with my hatchling sulcatas and Daisy, my 3 year old sulcata. Richard is doing this on his hatchling leopards and likes the results so far.

Good luck and keep me posted on what you choose and how it works out for you. I am still, and always will be, learning too. Feel free to post these things on the forum with or without my name. I don't mind either way. I'd like everyone to have the benefit of these discussions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scooter, Bert, Delores, Daisy, Tulee, Tuck, Trey and Millie.
 

terracolson

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Lucas why dont you post a pic...Since BB and Salt is from the Same cluth maybe we can compare
 

Tom

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Lucas-Chaparron said:
I have 2 baby Leopards and one of them doesnt look as smooth as the other.. n they r both born from the same mom at the same time.
Do u thiunk i should soak them everyday instead of every other day?
I soak them for 20 min every other day.. But maybe I should at least wet their shell everyday.. do u think that will stop the pyramiding?

Is the pyramiding one the same one who gets more of the food? Is he a little bigger than the other one?

Here's what I believe about pyramiding: It is CAUSED by growth in the absence of sufficient humidity. More growth in the absence of sufficient humidity causes more pyramiding.

IF they were my Leopards, here's what I would do: Put them on a moist substrate. Give them at least one humid hide. Bump the temps up so they never drop below 75-80ish, even at night. Spray their food daily. Soak them daily. Spray their shells at least once daily.

This is really only necessary for hatchlings and very small ones. Once they get about 6", if they are smooth, you can let things dry out a bit and cool off a little more. I would not keep an older, outdoor housed one this way.

Richard Fife, who knows FAR more than me doesn't go this far and he has great results. If I lived somewhere humid I would tone this down a bit and use greater caution.

I can't tell you yet if this is all right or wrong. I'm only telling you that this is what I believe to be the right way to go and as soon as I get my Leopards, I will be housing them this way. I am housing my young sulcatas this way and so far its working great.

It has been my experience that the pattern of growth, either pyramided or not, is established primarily in the first few weeks or months after hatching. This then is the most critical time. In other words, if you've got a six month old and it already looks like a knobby tire, all the humidity in the world probably isn't going to help much. At least not with pyramiding.
 
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