Moist Hide Creationby Richard Brooks
Moist hides have become a standard device in captive reptile enclosures. Not only do they aid with shedding, help the reptile thermo-regulate, help keep the reptile hydrated through absorption, but they also double as an egg laying box.
Creating a moist hide is very simple. The theory is the same no matter what reptile will be using it. It is a container of some sort that holds a moistened substrate and has an entrance.
For this tutorial, I am going to create a moist hide for a leopard gecko. You can apply this technique to any reptile, but may need to increase the actual size of the container.
- · A container - (Plastic Tupperware containers with a lid are excellent)
- · Razor Knife or drill with hole saw bit
This is what I used to create my Leopard Gecko Moist Hide:
I am using a sandwich sized container made by Ziploc. (Disposable, cheap, and effective!)
The first thing you want to do is press the cover onto the moist hide. This will allow you a more stable piece of workable material.
If you are using a razor knife to make the entry way, you may want to grab a stencil of some sort to trace. With a pencil or pen, trace a circle in one of the corners. Using the razor knife, follow the pattern you created and remove the excess plastic and discard.
I used a 1 3/4" hole saw bit to create the entry point.
This is roughly what your moist hide should look like at this point:
Now that we have an entry way, which is always best done on the top. (To prevent the substrate from being pushed out when the reptile is moving or digging.), we need to add a substrate.
For this Leopard Gecko Moist Hide, I used paper towel. It's cheap, easy to keep moist, and is effective. I lined the bottom with dry paper towel, and then "sprayed" it with warm water allowing the towel to absorb it. Once the paper towel was moist, but not soaked, I stopped. I can not see any standing water, and you shouldn't either! If you do, you added too much water!
Substrates can be as simple as the paper towel I used, but there are actually a variety of things that can be used.
The most popular are:
- · Paper towels
- · Sphagnum Moss (long grain, not powdered)
- · Vermiculite
- · Perlite (more common for incubation trays than moist hides)
If you are breeding, and you want your moist hide to double as an egg laying box, you will want to avoid paper towel and use something that the reptile would be able to dig. For my breeding Leopard geckos, I use sphagnum moss. It retains moisture well, allows digging, and is difficult for my Leos to ingest.
Using paper towels, and the method described here, this is what you should have:
Here are 2 of my hatchlings enjoying their new MH:
That's it. Moist hides are easy to make and are very beneficial to your reptile!