Wednesday, 22 May 2013

How to Make a Humid Hide

I've discussed before the importance of proper hydration for Crested Geckos, but what do you do if your gecko is having problems staying hydrated, is sick, injured or is having shed issues?

The answer:  Create a Humid Hide!

Here's how:

1.  Find a Suitable Container 
This is only going to be a temporary container you will keep your gecko in, or it will be an accessory in your gecko enclosure, so it doesn't need to be incredibly sturdy or overly large.  The one I used it about 4" (l)  x 6" (w) x 2" (h) and is clear so I can monitor the crestie inside, but it doesn't have to be.  Margarine containers work really well for this, as do ZipLock or Gladware plastic tupperware

2.  Poke, Drill or Melt Holes for Breathing
You'll want to poke holes for breathing in your plastic container to increase the airflow for your crestie while inside regardless of if the humid hide is going to be a temporary enclosure or an accessory.  Place these holes in the top lid and just under the top lip of the container. 
  • If you are poking holes using a pin then you will need to do a lot of holes and this is best done from the inside of the container out so that you don't risk your crestie getting scraped by any potentially sharp edges left over.  
  • If you are going to drill holes then ensure the bit you are using will make appropriate size holes.  You don't want your gecko being able to get out, or get stuck or caught in any of the holes so ensure they aren't too big.  I've been told that you reduce the risk of cracking the plastic if you heat it with a hair dryer before drilling.
  • If you want to melt the holes you can use either a soldering gun (but you will ruin the soldering gun tip) or you can use a torch and heat up metal wire/bars/pins to make the holes.  I personally prefer this method for more long term humid hides that are going to be used a lot, especially because the holes end up smooth.  Again, make sure that the wire or pin is the right diameter to allow enough air flow, but also prevent your gecko from escaping.
3.  Lay a Substrate 
I personally use household paper towel to do this, and the higher end stuff that absorbs really well works the best.  Use a few sheets and fold it into the size of your container, then lay it in the bottom of the humid hide.  This will help hold the moisture and release it without having a risk of drowning, especially for smaller geckos.  You can also use clean cotton rags, or clean hand towels or face towels, but it will be harder to see some things, like abnormal feces or bleeding, and they aren't as disposable/cost effective.
4.  Pour a Hydration Solution
For geckos with shed issues, purified water is a great hydrating solution.  I use reverse osmosis water, just like I do for their drinking water.
For sick geckos or cresties that are having hydration issues, using a flavourless pedialyte can help rehydrate.  I tend to mix mine half and half with water.

Pour in enough to fully saturate the paper towel substrate, but not leave a lot of pooled liquid.  Be especially careful when creating a humid hide for a very small gecko.

5.  Place Your Gecko
Place your gecko in the container and close the lid completely.  Continue to monitor your gecko and do not leave the gecko in their for a significant time period. 
 As a modification you can place a humid hide with a entry/exit hole in the top of the container that is large enough for the gecko to get in and out in the tank with your gecko, but there is no guarantee that they will use it.  If you have a sick gecko or one with a shed issue I recommend doing a monitored method first and providing a modified humid hide in the terrarium as an "extra".

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