Controlling humidity in ventilated cages...

Dear VPI,

I would like to say THANKS for the great ball python DVD. It is well worth the small price. I watch it so much I feel like your one of your family. 

1) My First question is "The question everyone is wanting to know...” When will your 2-hour Ball Python - Professional Breeder Edition be released? You know...An-depth view for the beginner breeder (like Me). Information like “Managing your Inventory,” “Live stock Coding,” and so on. 

2) My Second Question, I purchased a rack system of cages that are ventilated on the top. It is a great system! I can really feel that my money was well-spent. But how do I control the humidity using shredded aspen bedding? I tried spray bottles but I was told aspen doesn't retain it to well right? Should I be worried about mold building up? Instead of spraying water can’t I just purchase a humidifier for the room and keep it running all the time? What do you think? 

Thanks again for all your years of dedication,

Helen - Prospective Future Breeder   



Dear Helen,

Thank you for the positive feedback. I'm not sure when we'll update the ball python DVD. Our plans next are for a blood python film—we are accumulating footage, but I can’t say when we will complete it. 

I think the best answer to your questions about humidity is humidifying the room. Ball pythons are very tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels, but still, they can get stuck sheds. We do tend to keep ours at the lower end of their tolerance and we do see some stuck sheds.

When a stuck shed happens, we may soak the snake in shallow water for a few hours. Sometimes we just hold them under running 80 degree water and we can take the skin off easily right then and there. 

If well-ventilated cages have a fault, it is that they do allow the ambient cage humidity to dissipate. This is sort of the trade-off that comes with the amount of ventilation that is necessary to prevent heat build-up. Still, we have found that when it comes to keeping snakes, it is better to err on the dry side-too much humidity can have a number of serious health consequences while too dry causes an occasional stuck shed. 

I have found aspen bedding to be quite tolerant to an occasional wetting and I have no hesitation to dump a small amount of water into a cage to bump the humidity up. If it gets moldy or musty it is time to change it out. It is a hydrophilic substance and it absorbs some water out of the air and usually it keeps most ball pythons quite comfortable.

 Good luck with your snakes.  DGB