Keeping your ball python inside a tank requires an understanding of their humidity requirements.
For example, how will you maintain those humidity levels?
Can you use a fogger for a ball python?
Which is better, a mister or a fogger?
In this post, we’re going to look at those questions and give you a clearer understanding of how to use reptile foggers for your ball pythons.
Table of Contents
Can You Use a Fogger for a Ball Python?
A reptile fogger is a device used to turn a standing pool of water into a fine mist, aka “fog”, and helps build up moisture within the ball python’s enclosure.
Some of them are small and can be placed inside a water bowl inside the cage, or they can be outside the enclosure and pumped in as mist via a hose or pipe. Most experts recommend keeping hardware outside the enclosure whenever possible.
In general, yes, you can use a fogger for a ball python. But the question really is, should you?
Foggers add humidity and simulate your ball python’s natural habitat. However, they don’t produce the high humidity that snakes require in comparison to a sprayer. Additionally, they break easily if your water source runs low.
How Do They Work?
Reptile foggers work like humidifiers, they are simply scaled down for snake cages.
These smaller enclosed spaces cause water vapor to condense on the cage walls and furnishings, allowing water droplets to increase along with the humidity inside the cage. They also offer your pet snake a chance to catch a drink since the water droplets are available throughout the enclosure.
All foggers convert liquid water into water vapor, but they work differently. Most pet owners like using ultrasonic humidifiers or foggers to achieve the perfect balance of humidity without heating up the snake’s habitat.
Foggers also require constant maintenance. Periodical refilling is also required, as water turns to vapor and dissipates from the cage quickly.
There is nothing wrong with using a fogger, but you should expect to put a good deal of time and energy into maintaining it. If you have a large snake collection, most experts recommend against using them.
Why Would Ball Pythons Need a Fogger?
Reptile lovers are well aware of how important humidity is to their pets. Most reptiles live in humid environments. It’s not surprising, since the vast majority of reptiles are made up of two-thirds water.
Water is essential. It is critical that ball python owners understand this and know what the optimal range is for their pets.
When we take ball pythons out of their natural environment and put them into an artificial habitat, it is up to us to provide the right humidity levels for them.
One of the easiest ways to do this as a pet owner is to set up a system that optimizes the environment for you.
The first step in setting up this environment is to better understand how reptiles like ball pythons get their water. They not only need to drink water, but they also need to have it in the air around them.
Ongoing maintenance is required to keep your snake well-hydrated and in the right environment.
Regularly misting and setting up specific plants inside the enclosure helps deliver the appropriate level of humidity. Some choose to use a spray bottle to deliver that same humidity.
However, this process isn’t always necessary. Most experienced reptile owners use an automated system and a tool to measure humidity levels, to keep their pets safe and happy inside their enclosure.
Foggers and misters use a regular water source for this process. This keeps their levels optimal, which is almost impossible to do manually.
That’s why it is so important to fully understand the needs of your ball python. For example, snakes from hotter and less-humid environments don’t need as much access to water as a reptile from a humid climate.
Ball pythons require a humidity level between 50-60% to be healthy and happy.
But are there other ways to get to that humidity level?
What Should You Do Before Using a Reptile Fogger?
In most cases, you can solve your reptile’s humidity issues without the use of a fogger or a mister. Pet owners can explore five different options to get those humidity levels back to where they need to be.
- Reducing Ventilation
Yes, too much ventilation can be a bad thing. It causes your ball python’s enclosure to dry out fast. Lowering ventilation can increase humidity, as a result. You can cover your enclosure lid with tape, such as HVAC foil tape, to increase the humidity levels.
If you decide to tape up ventilation holes, make sure to leave a spot for light fixtures to illuminate the enclosure. Also, make sure the tape is applied on the outside, and never on the inside.
An alternative is to use plyboard or plastic sheets to cover the holes. Be sure to double-check that the covering is flush with the screen top for the most effective results.
- Add New Substrate
Certain types of substrate retain moisture better and improve the humidity of your ball python’s enclosure. Substrates good for moisture retention include coconut husk, cypress mulch, coco peat, and coco fiber.
We highly recommend having a 3-4 inch deep substrate for the best results. You can also apply dried moss and perlite to help hold in humidity.
As with all things you put inside your snake’s enclosure, be aware that you can breed bacteria with certain types of substrates, leading to scale rot on the underside of your ball python. Avoid over-moisturizing your snake’s enclosure to avoid bacteria from forming.
Not sure if your substrate needs to be replaced? Squeeze it with your hands. If water comes out, it’s too wet. There should be no water leaking from the substrate.
Additionally, stay away from absorbent beddings such as aspen shavings, if you’re struggling to get humidity levels to the right spot.
Also, sometimes simply tossing around your substrate can help prevent bacterial build-up.
- Use a Large Water Dish
In certain cases, all you need to combat your humidity woes is a large water dish. The size of the water bowl is dependent on the size of your snake. Ultimately, you want something large enough for your ball python to climb inside and soak.
Should the humidity in your ball python’s enclosure keep dropping, invest in a large water bowl as a first step. You can choose a plastic water dish if you want to avoid serious issues. Other options include a large catch plate like the ones gardeners use.
Keep in mind, a good water dish can also help your ball python shed appropriately.
- Pick the Right Enclosure Material
The material that makes up your terrarium is equally important to maintaining humidity levels. For the most part, PVC enclosures hold humidity much better than glass. This is typically because they have fewer ventilation holes and remain fully covered on the top. PVC tank designs are also easy to partially cover up as needed.
However, many snake owners simply can’t afford this type of enclosure because they range in price from 200-500 dollars. Look for one with a cover and humidity shield. This has the opportunity to give your snake enough humidity to be comfortable.
- Swap Out Your Heating Equipment
Another thing that could be throwing off your humidity is heat. Higher-wattage heat lamps have the ability to lower humidity inside a ball python’s tank. It’s highly recommended that you use heat sources with lower-wattage bulbs.
Stick to lower-wattage heat bulbs, such as those made from halogen, which max out at around 60W. This is more than enough heating to warm a 40-gallon tank.
It’s also a good idea to use a deep heat projector (DHP) instead of ceramic heat emitters, for nighttime heating. They produce infrared light that penetrates into a ball python’s skin.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to use a barrier and recommended distances from the heater and substrate, at a minimum of 12 inches. This prevents your python from burning itself on the DHP.
Of course, if you notice that your heat mat or lighting continues to drop the humidity inside the tank, you can swap out your heating sources to a UTH, as they won’t lower humidity quite as fast.
Not to mention this also provides belly heat for your snake, which aids in digestion.
Finally, always use a thermostat and dimmer on your heating device to avoid overheating your snake’s tank.
What Is A Good Alternative to a Fogger?
So, we know that there are alternative steps you can take instead of using a fogger, but what about other devices and methods you can consider?
Let’s take a look at three of the most common alternative methods that snake owners use to balance humidity in their tanks.
#1. Humidity Boxes
If you notice the signs that your snake is about to shed, a humidity box is a great idea. It can be composed of damp moss, paper towels, and coco husks.
These boxes allow one hole for your python to come in and out of. There won’t be any other ventilation holes needed to trap the humidity inside the box.
A word of caution, however. If you leave your humidity box uncleaned for extended periods of time, it will breed bacteria that can be dangerous for your pet. Replace the bedding inside the box weekly at a minimum.
Another good idea is to use distilled water to moisten the substrate to reduce the risk of bacteria.
#2. Moss Bags
Moss bags are able to soak up to 30% of their weight. This allows the amount of water absorbed to increase. This makes it the perfect way to provide humidity for ball pythons.
To make your own, simply form moss into a ball and cover it using a stocking or fine net. You can also add water to it to prevent it from drying out.
Place your moss bags directly beneath your heat source to increase humidity. This allows water to evaporate and increase moisture in the air inside the tank.
Don’t use paper towels or wood, because they tend to grow bacteria and mold, easily.
#3. Heat Up The Water
Create more moisture by placing a heat source above the water bowl. This allows the water to evaporate and turn into vapor inside the tank. In turn, this helps maintain moisture levels.
Fill up your water dish regularly to avoid drying it out via the heat source. If you have the room for it, add another water bowl so that your ball python can either soak in warm water or cold water.
What’s The Difference Between a Reptile Fogger and Reptile Mister?
A reptile fogger is used to distribute water over larger areas. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, too, but they all spray out of multiple small holes at relatively high pressure. This creates visible mist droplets.
On the other hand, reptile misters are similar but they create much smaller droplets than foggers. Often times reptile owners choose misters over foggers because they won’t leave as much moisture on surfaces such as floors or tables.
This also means that mist produced by a reptile mister also disperses more easily in comparison to what foggers produce.
Either way, the end goal should be to give your snake a healthy level of humidity throughout their enclosure, and both a fogger and a mister can produce that.
Frequently Asked Questions About Reptile Foggers
Should I be Concerned About Thick Fog?
It’s ideal if you put your mister or fogger on the lowest setting and use it only a few times per day, for the best results. The fog can gather and become so thick you cannot even see the bottom of your snake’s enclosure. The best way to know if it’s too much is simply to keep a tool to check the humidity levels. If they are above 70%, it’s time to switch up your machine or lower the setting.
How Often Should I Use A Fogger?
Typically, you’ll want to use your fogger or mister at least 2 times every day. Be sure to use it for no more than 15 minutes. Keep in mind, the fog will dissipate quickly after using the fogger unless you have set up the enclosure to retain humidity.
What is the Best Way to Add Humidity to a Ball Python Tank?
We mentioned several ways to increase the humidity inside a ball python tank in the article above, but we always recommend starting by adding an appropriately sized water bowl inside their enclosure. It should be large enough for your pet to soak and shallow enough to avoid accidental drownings.
How Much Water Should I Spray On The Ball Python?
You shouldn’t have to spray moisture directly on your ball python if you’re offering them a soaking dish, as mentioned above. However, we recommend misting the tank for at least 10 seconds twice per day, to help them shed. You’ll also want to mix substrate after a mist to prevent built-up moisture.
When is the Best Time to Spray Water on a Ball Python?
Anytime your pet is outside of its hide is a good time to mist your ball python. This most often occurs at night, since they are nocturnal. However, you can also mist their enclosure even though they’re hiding, just to ensure the humidity stays at the proper level.
Do Ball Pythons Enjoy Being Sprayed with Water?
No studies can confirm if ball pythons enjoy being sprayed with water. Yet, they do like to soak inside their water bowls, so they definitely get some sort of relief from immersing themselves in water. This could be because they enjoy getting rid of the waste or simply use it to prep for shedding.
Do Snakes Have to Have Misters?
No. When ball pythons are in captivity they don’t require misters but do require healthy humidity.
Keep Your Ball Python Properly Moisturized with a Fogging System
Ball pythons require healthy humidity levels. If you fail to produce a humid environment, your ball python could easily become sick.
Increasing humidity is easy when you use a reptile fogger. Using the tips above, you can create fine droplets that your ball python can enjoy.
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Hungry for more ball python info? Check out our other posts on creating the perfect environment for them, like choosing the right tank size.