Howdy keepers! This is an article that I wrote for my personal website. I thought I would share it. Thanks!
WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Humidity, or relative humidity, is the measurement of evaporated water in a given volume of air. It is measured as a percentage. Humidity has a dramatic impact on the health of your Scorpion. For some, too little humidity and your scorpion won’t be able to molt properly. Too much humidity and harmful mold and mildew will begin to grow on the substrate. The Emperor Scorpion, for example, is native to the tropical rain forests of west Africa. The rain forest stays roughly at around 80% relative humidity. We want to emulate these conditions in our scorpion’s habitat. So how does relative humidity work anyway?
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Imagine a large jar with a capacity of one gallon. Understand that only a small percentage of that volume is evaporated water. For the sake of our illustration let’s imagine that the air in our jar is completely saturated with evaporated water, and the measurement of the water is 1 oz. So we would say that with 1oz of water in the jar, the humidity in the jar is at 100%. No more water can be evaporated into the air. So, now, it stands to reason that at 0.5oz of water the humidity would be measured at 50%.
HOW DO YOU CONTROL IT?
Another important aspect of humidity is that the CAPACITY of a given volume of air CHANGES WITH TEMPERATURE. The higher the temperature, the greater holding capacity a given volume of air has. This is why you always see a humidity measurement accompanied by a temperature reading; 85% @ 82°F. This is because the capacity of 1 cubic meter of air at 80°F is different than 1 cubic meter of air at 85°F.
Think about how this will affect your scorpion’s habitat, 80% humidity at 82°F leaves the walls clear and your substrate moist but not wet. As the sun goes down and the temperature falls in the room, the water capacity in the terrarium air drops. When this happens, the humidity reading will rise. When the temperature falls low enough, the humidity will reach 100% and condensation will begin to form on the glass and substrate. We can quite literally squeeze the water right out of the air by lowering the temperature. So then, part of the key to controlling humidity is to control the temperature!
Secondly, you need to consider your substrate. Choose a substrate that holds in moisture. A common choice is coco husk fiber. My favorite brand is Eco-Earth Plantation Soil. This kind of soil will act as a slow release for water in your terrarium. This, in turn, will maintain the humidity and prevent rapid changes in the terrarium environment.
Lastly is ventilation. Proper ventilation will prevent mold and mildew from building up inside your terrarium. It also keeps your scorpion energized. Ventilation works in harmony with the slow release action of the soil to help regulate the humidity as well.
Many beginners fall into the trap of going cheap on equipment, and, while this isn't essentially bad, it can result in problems like mold issues, their scorpion may have problems molting and the keeper just can’t keep the environment readings stable. Understanding the principles of humidity and the interacting elements can help beginners to break free from these problems and reach the truly enjoyable realm of the scorpion hobby.