Some questions about temp & humidity

My new addition as a first-time ball python owner is on his way. I started gathering up the supplies in the last couple of weeks to prepare and I have a few questions that I’m hoping you guys can help with that haven’t been covered in the searches I’ve done & other care guides I’ve read, or at least not so specifically!

  1. I live in a fairly damp place, and as a result, the natural humidity even within my house is a lot higher than I anticipated. However, my hygrometer is reading 79% (which can’t possibly be right…I don’t live in a raincloud!). However, even before that it was reading over 60% before I added bedding and I know this is too high. The water bowl is pretty small, not sure I could go much smaller. Any other advice for reducing humidity? I’m also planning to get a different hygrometer, as this one clearly isn’t accurate, and leaving the lid open overnight in hopes more moisture will evaporate and then i can manage it better.

  2. In regards to the hot spot temperature - I have the thermostat set to 90%. However, when using an infrared thermometer on top of the bedding on the hot side, it reads in the mid 80s. Should I be still keeping the thermostat at 90, or bump it up by a couple degrees to compensate for the heat loss from the bedding? Maybe i need a better quality thermometer as well?

For reference, the tub is a 14 gallon tub (12 holes drilled on each side for ventilation), the BP in question is around 300g, I have cypress mulch currently while I wait for coconut chips to arrive, two hides (one on hot and one on cool) and an under-tank heat mat on a thermostat. Grateful for any advice you can provide! :slight_smile:

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You want the inside/bottom of the enclosure to be 90 degrees at the hot spot, definitely not the top of the substrate. When you take a temp gun measurement of the hot spot scrape off the substrate and get a reading on the bare enclosure floor.

As for humidity you can only go so small on a water dish.

Not sure what you’re using for substrate but you could consider mixing some Aspen in even at a 1:1 rate with your coconut fiber or whatever you’re using. It’s notorious for being dry, and usually not recommended for BPs because of that but if you’re on the high end it might not be the worst idea.

If you try that you will have to change it somewhat more often as Aspen will mold more quickly.

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Cheaper hygrometers are notoriously inaccurate. However 80% humidity isnt going to look like a rain cloud lol, the air will feel moist, but it won’t be visual. Irc most care sheet recommend around 60% humidity, personally I keep my room higher than that. If you don’t have mold, I wouldn’t worry. They don’t get infections from just high humidity like some will claim. If you do need to reduce it, a dehumidifier in the room or more air flow would be my recommendation.

88-90 degrees should be the hottest spot your snake is exposed to. So right above the heat pad without the substrate. if you don’t like the temperature on top of the substrate then thin out the substrate. Snakes will burrow and you don’t want them burning themselves.

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If the humidity becomes a problem I’ve heard that an onion bag filled with sphagnum moss can reduce the humidity.

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Thanks for the clarification! I kinda thought this might be the case but wanted to be sure (re: hot spot vs substrate) - makes perfect sense if he starts burrowing around in the hide and such.

It’s at various points read 99% too, which can’t possibly be right. Do you have a hygrometer that you can recommend with better accuracy?

If your getting readings of 99% it probably means you don’t have good ventilation towards the top of the tub. When you remove the lid does the humidity drop to normal levels? If so just add enough holes in the top to reach your desired number.

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Not personally, I think @stewart_reptiles had some recommendations tho in the past for some good analog ones. The accurite ones widely recommended among the hobby are garbage in my experience. Only input I have.

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I’ve had really good luck with Govee digital thermometer hygrometers. They come in a two pack from Amazon. Very accurate and they connect via Bluetooth or wifi depending on what you get. I have a bunch of them and they work great

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These look great! Especially being able to monitor via bluetooth/wifi. Thanks for the suggestions.

As a more general update - I’ve finally mostly been able to get the temp & humidity right. It improved on both fronts when I put a space heater in the corner closest to the tub. Do need to add more holes to the tub, though and I think that will fully resolve it. Thanks again all for the suggestions. I’ll have to grab some photos of him once he’s settled in more in a week or two. For now, one from his breeder over at Tall Grass Reptiles:

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Back again…he has, so far, not left his hide since he arrived basically (it is possible he has at night, but no disruption of the substrate or water bowl makes me think no). I have completely left him alone since he arrived. Should i still attempt to feed him once we hit one week (this wednesday), or should I wait until he’s coming out and exploring some on his own? Just don’t want to set us back or stress him out.

Ball pythons can go a long time without food, personally I’d wait until he’s settled in and exploring before trying to feed. I’d wait until he’s moving around to feed so you don’t risk regurgitation or associate feeding with stress. I’d re-evaluate this weekend to see if by then he would most likely be okay eating.

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I always offer the first meal by day 7 personally. If they don’t eat they don’t eat.