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Do Sulcata Tortoises Need Humidity? #7 Facts You Should Know

Being desert-dwelling tortoise species, do sulcata tortoises need humidity in their enclosure? If you’re asking this question, you’re at the right place. Read on to learn more.

Unlike conventional pets, tortoises require special care to keep them happy and healthy. Therefore, it is very important to keep them in the right environment for their proper growth. As a responsible sulcata tortoise owner, you may be wondering if your tortoise needs humidity.

Sulcata tortoises are desert tortoise species, and many believe that they should be housed in a dry and hot environment. Sulcata tortoise enclosure humidity should be around 50-75% with a humid and dry area to keep them happy and healthy.

It is important for your tortoise to check and properly maintain the humidity level of your sulcata tortoise. In this article, we will help answer your questions about whether sulcata tortoises need humidity and ways that you can maintain humidity in their enclosure.

This article has been reviewed by Dr. Dilber. Read more about our knowledge control process here.

Do Sulcata Tortoises Need Humidity?

Yes, sulcata tortoises need humidity to stay happy and healthy. Like other reptiles, sulcata tortoises usually absorb water through their skin. This is because they can live in different habitats where it is rare to get water to drink.

Furthermore, humidity is very important for baby and juvenile sulcata tortoises for their optimal growth. To keep them healthy and happy, you need to keep your sulcata tortoise in an enclosure with around 50-75% humidity.

do sulcata tortoises need humidity? Yes they do.
A healthy, well misted sulcata tortoise

The lack of humidity on the tortoise is similar to the lack of hydration to humans or other mammals. Furthermore, lack of humidity can cause dehydration, weakened immune systems in tortoises. However, too much humidity can also lead to respiratory problems, shell rots, etc.

Vet answer: Humidity plays an important role in the growth and health of sulcata tortoise. Humidity higher than normal can induce stress in sulcata tortoise. Besides that, low humidity can cause skin and coat problems.

This is why you must maintain the level of humidity at an optimal level in your sulcata tortoise’s enclosure.

How To Maintain Humidity For Sulcata Tortoise Enclosure

It is quite straightforward to maintain the proper humidity in your sulcata tortoise enclosure. All you have to worry about is how to increase the humidity, as it can be quite hard to decrease humidity. Some of the ways that you can maintain humidity for your sulcata tortoise enclosure are stated below.

Use The Appropriate Bedding Or Substrate Hold Moisture

One of the best ways that you can maintain humidity in an enclosure is by using a suitable substrate. You need to opt for a substrate that can absorb water well and also retain moisture for several hours.

By using a substrate that can retain water, your tortoise’s substrate will remain moist for a long time. Furthermore, it will keep the surrounding air humid coupled with proper temperatures.

Another thing is that sulcata tortoises love burrowing into the substrate, and their skin will absorb moisture from the moist substrate, which helps to keep them hydrated.

Use Of A Fogging System

In some cases, you can maintain the humidity in your tortoise’s enclosure by adding more humidity apart from using a substrate that retains water. You can do this with a fogging system which helps to add constant mist into their enclosure.

The fogging system should be time driven or should maintain manually according to the humidity of cage and substrate. IF the substrate is too wet or there is too much humidity in the cage, it can cause problems.

Instead of the fogging system, you can also use a spray bottle to mist their enclosure to add more humidity. The best thing about spray bottles is that you can control how much water you want to add to your tortoise’s enclosure.

A Fogging System
A Fogging System

Placing An Open Source Of Clean Water

It can be quite hard to maintain humidity if you are keeping your tortoise outdoors. Although you can use moisture-retaining substrate for your tortoise’s outdoor enclosures, outdoor enclosures are usually large, and you may spend a lot of money and effort.

It is very difficult to maintain humidity in an outdoor enclosure. Because humidity is the amount of moisture present in air compared to the moisture that air can sustain at a certain temperature. So, if the outdoor humidity is too high or too low, it will be difficult to bring to normal for sulcata tortoise.

However, you can simply place an open water source within the enclosure. You need to ensure that you clean the water source regularly.

A young sulcata tortoise soaking in water
A young sulcata tortoise soaking in water

Add Plants Into Your Sulcata Tortoise Habitat

This is an efficient way that you can use to add humidity to your tortoise enclosure. Live plants will not only add humidity to your sulcata tortoise habitat, but they will also be a source of food and shade to your tortoise.

Use plants when humidity is low otherwise do not use them.

All you have to do is add the right bedding in your enclosure so it can be easy for the plant to take root. You can also use artificial plants if live plants are not available. However, artificial plants are not that efficient when it comes to adding humidity to your tortoise enclosure.

Furthermore, they are not edible, and your tortoise will not eat them. However, they will do an excellent job if you keep them humid by using a water spray.

Use Sunshade Net For Sulcata Tortoise

Generally, the humidity in a tortoise enclosure usually depends on how humid the rest of the surrounding area. This means most of the humidity in your tortoise enclosure will escape if it is an open enclosure.

You can try to trap humidity in your tortoise enclosure by partially covering their enclosure with a sunshade net. Another way that you can create a humid area is by placing moist hides in the enclosure. 

 A Sunshade Net
A Sunshade Net

This means you will have a place where the humidity is quite high, even when the rest of the enclosure is dry.

Last update on 2022-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do sulcata tortoises need to be misted?

Yes, you can mist your sulcata tortoise daily using a water sprayer. This will help provide the humidity needed by your tortoise and maintain the humidity in their enclosure. Furthermore, you will also need to bathe your tortoise regularly.

Which humidifier is suitable for sulcata tortoise?

Humidity is an important aspect that you should keep in mind when raising a sulcata tortoise. Many breeders believe baby sulcata tortoises need high humidity in their enclosure to help avoid pyramiding. This is why you will need a humidifier for their enclosure.

There are lots of reptile foggers out there, and some of the humidifiers suitable for sulcata tortoise are stated below:

= Potted plant fogger machine
= Zoo Med Reptifogger
= Evergreen Foggers, etc.

How many hours of natural sunlight does my tortoise need daily?

Tortoise is a cold-blooded animal and requires the temperature to stay healthy and happy. They love the sun and will need about 10-12 hours of exposure to sunlight or artificial UVB light to stay healthy.

Does a Sulcata need artificial UV lighting?

Sulcata tortoises will need artificial UV lighting if they do not have access to direct sunlight. They need UVB radiation for basking and also to absorb calcium from their diet. When keeping sulcata tortoise indoors, you will have to install a UVB light and change it regularly when it loses its potency.

Wrapping Up

Although sulcata tortoise is a long-lived animal, you need to ensure their living conditions do not cause them stress. Furthermore, they require lots of patience and dedication if you want them to be a lifelong companion.

One of the aspects important for sulcata tortoise growth is humidity. Sulcata tortoise requires humidity, and if done correctly, they will live a comfortable life without any deformities and issues for the rest of their life.

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