If you’re like me, you’re tired of having to constantly monitor and adjust the humidity of your snake’s habitat in order to get that perfect shed. And even more importantly, you want your snake to be healthy and have a stress free time during their shed. Building your own microclimate shedding box is an excellent and equally cheap solution.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
To get started you will need these basic items:
- A plastic plastic container, just slightly bigger than your snake is when it is coiled
- A pair of scissors or a knife that you can use to cut into the container
- Some sand paper, a low grit to remove any large imperfections and a high grit to polish
- Sphagnum moss and substrate, which can be bought from almost any pet store
Step 2: Gather Your Materials Part 2 (If You Want to Customize Your Shed Box)
If you want to get creative you'll need:
- Acrylic paint, it's safe for your pet!
Check the label on the back of the acrylic paint before you use it. It should say that it's non-toxic, which means you don't have to worry about the health of your scaly friend!
- Paint brushes (3)
One pointed with small round bristles for painting the stencil, one with medium flat bristles for painting the box, and one with large flat bristles for sealing with Mod Podge
- Mod Podge glue for sealing (Also non-toxic and water-based)
- Printout stencil with a cool design of your liking and possibly a precision knife if you want to use a stencil with small details
- Clear tape
Step 3: Clean Out the Container and Make a Hole
- Clean out the plastic container
- Hydrogen Peroxide (store bought 3% solution) is good for disinfecting your box. It is safe for your pet if used properly!
- 1:1 vinegar and water is another pet-safe option for disinfecting
- Cut out an entrance
Safely use a knife to cut a hole in the lid of the container. Cutting a hole in the lid instead of the side of your container will prevent the sphagnum moss and substrate from getting pulled out of the box when the snake comes in and out.
Step 4: Sand Down the Edges
To make the entrance to your snake's hide as smooth as possible:
- Use the low grit sandpaper to sand down the large edges working your way around both the inside and the outside of the entrance hole.
- Then use the high grit sand paper to smooth out any small imperfections.
Step 5: Add Substrate and Sphagnum Moss
- I used coconut fiber substrate because it holds moisture well, but you can use whatever substrate is best for your situation.
- The moss should be soaked in water then squeezed out until it is moist, but no longer dripping. This is done to prevent water from puddling at the bottom of the hide, which can result in health issues for your snake.
Step 6: Customize Your Snake's Shed Box
- Choose the color you want (in acrylic non-toxic paint) for your shed box and start painting!
- Wait 20-30 minutes for paint to dry
- Then you can seal your work with Mod Podge
Step 7: Add a Design With a Stencil
- Print out a stencil from the internet (I got my stencil from tattootribes.com)
- Tape over your stencil with clear tape so the paint doesn't bleed through the paper
- Cut out your stencil Note: If you are using an intricate stencil you might want to buy an precision cutting knife
- Lay the stencil over the area you want your design and carefully dab the stencil with the color you want
- Once you have gotten your stencil down on the shed box you can remove the stencil paint in any areas that might need touching up
- Wait 20-30 minutes for your stencil to dry and then seal the stencil with Mod Podge
Step 8: Follow Important Tips and Tricks
- Use the shed box only during shed
THIS IS IMPORTANT. If the humidity box is left in the tank permanently, your snake may decide it will rarely want to leave the box. THIS CAN LEAD TO HEALTH PROBLEMS such as scale rot and respiratory infection. So check on your snake's shedding progress, and remove the box when the snake has finished shedding.
- Humid hides are mostly for use in enclosures that don’t hold humidity.
Screen top tanks or tanks with screened walls for example.
- Where you want to place the hide in the tank is personal preference
- Hot side will create more humidity, but will cause moss to dry out more quickly
- Cold side will have less humidity, but changing the out the sphagnum moss will not be as necessary
- Placing the box in between can be the best of both worlds Ultimately it is up to whatever your pet decides it prefers
- Clean out your humidity hide after each use
To do this you can use hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) or 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, this will prevent bacterial build up
Throw away old moss and substrate
- To make sure that your snake has had a healthy shed
Examine the old skin, if it is all in one piece and your snake has no old pieces of skin stuck to them then you are good!