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 New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....

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Drtchock
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Registration date : 2016-12-08

PostSubject: New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....   12/8/2016, 6:30 am

Hi guys!

I had a few Emperors around 20 years ago when I was a kid, but for some reason I recently got the itching to get myself another scorpion. Settled for a Desert Hairy as I always prefered how the desert scorpions looked.

Obviously the climate is totally different than an Emperor and requires a different set up so I 've gone for a Exo Terra Habisphere tank, it's about a 10 gallon size with a heat mat on the side of the tank since this is a burrower. After watching videos and reading lots online I went for a 80% sand and a 20% excavator clay mixture. I chose excavator clay over the coco fibre as it doesn't hold the moisture as much, which I figured would be better since this is a desert species. I mixed the two together with 1 litre (40oz) of water, firlmly pushed it down, turned on the heat mat and allowed it to dry for a week.

It's been a week and unfortunately it's not dried as much as I'd hoped and my scorpion has now arrived! The surface is dry but, the substrate is still a little damp underneath. I'm having to keep the lid open to keep down humidity which isn't ideal but there's little chance he can climb out. I also have no water in the water dish. The humidity gauge is on the cool side of the tank and currently reads 60 with the lid open, the tempertature gauge is on the warm side and is around 30'c (86'F). I'm happy with the temperature but I know these things need a 20 - 50 humidity reading ideally so is there any other way I can get that down or do I just have to wait?

He's currently settled on the warm side of the tank, where I guess the humidity is less. Would a few days of it being a slightly too humid atmosphere be too much of a worry for this species? I know when it rains in the desert it will get quite humid until the sand has dried so I'm hoping it will be ok!

Thanks guys
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Callum B
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PostSubject: Re: New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....   12/8/2016, 1:41 pm

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Your setup sounds fine. In regards to the damp substrate, it depends on how long you think it will take to dry out fully. I'm presuming the scorpion you have is an adult, so it will not need experimentation with humidity to try and get it through a moult (difficult with this species!)? Hadrurus arizonensis are very prone to mycosis, which is a fungal infection that seems to eventually kill the scorpion. Mycosis is often present on wild caught specimens, but too humid conditions in captivity speeds up its spread so an adult H. arizonensis is best kept in an enclosure with very good ventilation and low humidity.

A few days kept in humid conditions is unlikely to cause any problems for your scorpion. However, knowing how long a deep substrate of sand and excavator clay can take to dry, you may find it stays damp for weeks. This could be long enough to become detrimental to the health of your scorpion.

So what would I do?? I'd remove the scorpion from the enclosure into something temporary, place the heat mat underneath the enclosure and if you have a spare lamp place this above the habisphere with the lid open. Remember to leave an air gap between the mat and the bottom of the tank to avoid cracking the glass/overheating the mat. This should dry the substrate out in 2 or 3 days.

I'll also note that if you are using a cheap, analogue humidity gauge I'd take the readings it gives with a pinch of salt. They're very inaccurate.
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Drtchock
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PostSubject: Re: New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....   12/8/2016, 4:26 pm

Thank you for your reply!

About an hour after I posted this original thread I actually did just that!

I bought a plastic lockable container, drilled plenty of holes in the top, put in some dry substrate and a piece of cork bark and moved the scorpion into there for the time being. Obviously it's not ideal for him because the substrate isn't deep enough for him to burrow, but at least it will be dry and not a hazard to his health and he seems to be happy enough for now.

I'm just keeping this container at room temperature, will this be ok? It's not going to be particularly cold in the UK over the next week and my house gets quite toasty with the heating on in the afternoon and evenings.

As for drying the tank, I actually had a heat mat under it (with an air gap) AND another on the side for a whole week, but it still didn't dry it in time!

Yes I'm using a cheap analogue humidity gauge... it really doesn't seem as humid in the tank as it's reading, it goes up to 80 with the lid shut! But there's no dampness on the glass etc. What would you recommend?
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Callum B
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PostSubject: Re: New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....   12/9/2016, 4:36 pm

No problem!

Your scorpion will be fine without heat. In fact, if you wanted to really keep this species happy you could leave it unheated and not feed it until February/March to simulate winter. Although you will have a fairly inactive new pet for a few months, it'll extend its lifespan. You may find it doesn't eat much at this time of year anyway because it thinks it's time to 'hibernate'.

Drying sand and excavator clay can be a nightmare!

I don't use a humidity gauge. I can tend to just go on how wet or dry the substrate is. Dry for arid, damp for tropical!
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Drtchock
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PostSubject: Re: New Desert Hairy owner, question about the humidity....   12/9/2016, 4:54 pm

Thanks again!

I actually went to my local pet store after work today and obtained a heat lamp to put above the substrate. It's an expensive fix since I'm only going to be using the lamp for a few days but at least I have one now f I ever need one in the future!

I've turned off the heat mat on the side of the tank as I didn't want that heating up and cracking the glass as a result of the extra warmth. There's still one under the tank though so it should now dry quicker, hopefully by the end of the weekend!

And yeh I thought he would be ok in this cooler temp container for the time being... I'll probably be putting him straight in the proper tank when it's dried out though instead of waiting until Feb! Laughing I think it's easy for people almost over-care for scorpions a little too much sometimes... a lady I work with was suprised I hadn't fed him yet and said he's going to be cold and hungry! I had to explain that it's easier to over-feed and over-heat a scorpion than do the opposite!

I'll try and post some pics of him enjoying his finished habitat once it's dried out and ready!

Thanks again for your help.
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