If you’re a proud owner of a leopard gecko, then you know how amazing these little reptiles are!
They’re full of personality and quirks that make them such wonderful pets. But did you know that creating a cozy and comfortable environment for them is super important?
One crucial element of their care is making sure they have a humid hide, or a “moist hide,” as some may call it. This special hideout is essential for their health and well-being and helps them shed their skin properly and stay hydrated.
Don’t worry, though – in this guide, we’ll show you how to make a moist hide for a leopard gecko, so they can thrive in the best possible habitat. Let’s get started!
Making a leopard gecko moist hide requires a container 2-3 times the size of the reptile and a substrate that retains moisture without getting moldy. Place the substrate and container on the warmer side of the tank (where applicable) and let your pet enjoy.
For more details and answers to related questions, check out the rest of the post.
Table of Contents
What Do You Need to Make a Humid Hide
Container – The primary item you’ll need is some kind of container.
Glass works OK to retain heat and moisture, but sometimes it may get too hot.
We recommend some sort of plastic container.
Make it out of a recycled sour cream or margarine container!
When picking one, the two main things you need to consider are the size and ability to handle the heat.
The container should be 2-3 times the size of your gecko.
Go larger than this, and it will have a hard time retaining the moisture.
For reference, check out this Exo Terra Gecko Cave.
This may give you a helpful reference on the size and shape we’re looking for.
Substrate – You’ll need a special substrate for the moist hide as well.
Your standard substrate of pea gravel or reptile carpet works just fine for the rest of the tank, but in this case, it won’t provide the humidity retention and moist hide needs.
For this, there are a few out there recommended by experts, including:
Out of these, we recommend coconut fiber bedding for most situations, but in this case, sphagnum moss is the best choice.
- Long-Lasting: Long-Fiber and Leafy Green Sphagnum Moss
- High Absorbency: Controls Tropical & Wetland Humidity
- Sustainable: Ecologically Regulated Harvests
It retains moisture, resists mold, and leopard geckos respond well to it.
You’ll only need enough to cover the ground inside the hide.
You will need to replace this with your regular cleanings, however.
Scissors – You only need scissors if you need to cut an entrance into your container.
It doesn’t have to be scissors; a knife will also work as long as the object can cleanly cut through the container’s material.
Step By Step How To Make A DIY Moist Hide For A Leopard Gecko
This section covers all you need to know about making a DIY moist hide for your pet.
This isn’t hard to do, but simple mistakes easily mess it up.
Avoid these problems by following directions carefully.
#1 Pick A Spot In Your Tank
Before doing anything, you must pick the right spot for your humid hide.
To start, you need to figure out if your tank has a warm side or a cool side.
For those using a large cover heating mat, you may not, and this is OK.
But your heating mat should stay a little more to one side or the other.
This gives the leopard gecko a place to rest if it gets too cool.
When you have a warmer and cooler side in your tank, pick a spot on the tank’s warmer side, not directly under any lights.
Placing directly under a light may make the interior of the moist hide too hot for the leopard gecko, and it won’t use it.
However, if you keep the substrate wet (as we’ll mention later) but place the hide on the cool side, you’ll increase the risk of respiratory and breathing problems.
#2 Spread Out The Substrate
Once you find a spot, look at how much space the leopard gecko moist hide will take up.
You need to spread out your substrate of choice to cover the whole area.
Those whose tank uses a reptile carpet or other liner put the humid substrate over the carpet.
An inch would be enough.
If you use a real substrate such as pea gravel, move it out of the way where the hide will go and replace it with the moss or other moist substrate.
Make sure the depth of the substrate matches your original.
#3 Wet Down The Substrate
Take a spray bottle of water and lightly spray/dampen the substrate.
There’s no hard and fast rule for how much to spray, but most owners agree the substrate should look wet yet not show any standing water.
We recommend erring on the side of dry instead of sopping wet.
Too much water will increase the risk of mold and bacteria growth.
Nothing actively wrong will happen if it’s too dry, though it needs to be damp to raise the humidity.
#4 Make A Hole In The Container (If Needed)
For some containers, you’ll need to take scissors or a box cutter and cut a hole for the leopard gecko to use as an entrance.
The entrance should be twice as tall and wide as the gecko for it to enter and exit easily.
You don’t want it to be too small, or it may feel trapped.
If you do need to cut, make sure the cuts are as smooth as possible.
Watch out for “sharp” edges which may cut your pet.
#5 Place The Container
With a proper container and substrate down in the right spot, you’re ready to put it down.
Place it in your chosen spot.
Push the container down a little into the substrate or use substrate (or small rocks) to hold the edges down.
Once this is done, you’re good to go!
You’ve made your moist hide for your leopard gecko and probably saved some money while doing it.
For those who would like another way to look at the process, check out the following video.
Remember, there are many ways to do this, so get creative.
As long as you make sure you use the proper substrate in the warm spot with a suitable container 2-3 times the size of the leopard gecko, the moist hide will work, and your pet will have a little bit of a better life.
Speaking of size, we have a post on how big leopard geckos get for those interested.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do You Need A Moist Hide For Leopard Geckos?
This largely depends on the owner.
Some will say it’s an absolute MUST to prevent shedding problems.
If you start spraying down the tank 3-5 times per day when you notice signs of shedding, you shouldn’t have any problems.
And if your leopard gecko continues to have problems shedding, we have a post on how to help leopard geckos shed you’ll find helpful.
For egg-laying, watch for signs of pregnancy in leopard geckos and then put a hide in as we describe in the article.
Outside of this, as long as you have a hide period, a moist hide isn’t necessary, but your leopard gecko will enjoy it.
Where Do You Place A Moist Hide For Leopard Geckos?
Moist hides aren’t like standard hides; they have a specific place they need to go.
As mentioned above, the moist hide needs to go on the warmer side of the tank (where there is one) and not directly beneath any heating lights.
Should I Spray My Leopard Gecko With Water?
Don’t spray down your leopard gecko just to do it.
While nothing terrible is likely to happen, consistent high humidity may give them respiratory issues.
Leopard geckos are used to typically dry environments.
They live in rocky desert areas with higher temperatures.
Leopard geckos will look for more humid hides during the hottest parts of the day and year, but they don’t need to be sprayed down.
If you follow our recommendations, you’ll only spray down the gecko when you see signs of shedding.
Should I Turn My Leopard Gecko’s Light Off At Night?
The rule of thumb for many reptiles is 12 hours with heat and light on and 12 hours with heat and light off.
This helps to follow the natural pattern of their day-night cycle.
The change in light will signal that it’s time to come out (remember, leopard geckos are nocturnal).
Temperature change also helps to regulate their cycle.
Leopard geckos store energy during the day.
Without the nightly release, they’ll be all messed up and stressed out.
And if you want to learn more about the heating requirements of leopard geckos, we have a post on how long leopard geckos can go without heat you’ll enjoy.
Now you know how to save money and make a moist hide for a leopard gecko.
After reading this, you’re probably thinking, Wow! This is so easy! Why didn’t I do this before?
Researching to give your pet the best setup is why the people reading this are the best possible pet owners.
Now get crafty and make your pet happy!