200 watt Heat Panel

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
I am trying to prepare for housing lots of Sulcatas and all the problems that come with it. We currently use Kane Mats or Stanfield under and over our Sulcatas to keep them warm. Well when you have over a dozen of these houses to heat that way can become a lot to do and deal with. I am thinking of using 200 watt or 250 watt heat panels to heat the entire house. I am most likely going with @Tom night box plans, 1 for each tort, as our setup doesn't fit well with double night boxes. If these will work it will eliminate all the hassles that come with the cord and the digging, wiggling back and forth and make the electrical wiring so much easier. Wondering if anyone does it this way instead of a radiant heater that takes a minimum of 600 watts. Of course the panel will be hooked to a thermostat.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,858
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I am trying to prepare for housing lots of Sulcatas and all the problems that come with it. We currently use Kane Mats or Stanfield under and over our Sulcatas to keep them warm. Well when you have over a dozen of these houses to heat that way can become a lot to do and deal with. I am thinking of using 200 watt or 250 watt heat panels to heat the entire house. I am most likely going with @Tom night box plans, 1 for each tort, as our setup doesn't fit well with double night boxes. If these will work it will eliminate all the hassles that come with the cord and the digging, wiggling back and forth and make the electrical wiring so much easier. Wondering if anyone does it this way instead of a radiant heater that takes a minimum of 600 watts. Of course the panel will be hooked to a thermostat.
I've never tried higher wattage heat panels, so I have no first hand experience to offer. I did find that Kane mats below, or RHPs above did not work alone. In combination, they work beautifully together. I use 80 watt RHP and 78 watt Kane mats, so roughly 160 watts. These run all night on a cold night.

Conversely, the 700 watt radiant oil heaters hardly run at all on a 30 degree night and operate much more efficiently than the Kane mat/RHP combo in a well insulated box. The radiant oil heaters use far less electricity per night than the Kane mat/RHP combo because they only turn "on" long enough to heat up the oil, and then they shut off, but the oil keeps on throwing heat for a long time.
 

Len B

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
5,030
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Md - Northern Neck Va
I agree with @Tom on the 700 watt electric oil heaters. I keep sulcatas where we have real cold winters on the east coast. Here's a couple things I figured out, The oil heaters work best sitting caddy corner in a corner than sitting flat against a wall. Better air circulation throughout the house. I use Stanfield mats mounted away from the heater but not in a corner for bottom heat. I also installed max 200 watt radiant heater chicken brooder-heaters from Tractor Supply near the door opening. This past winter I found that I didn't need the chicken heaters with this setup. Also a 4x5ft or 4x6ft works better than the 4x4 size house if you are expecting to use the house's into adult size. You loose a little more floor space with the oil heater set caddy corner and you will need to have enough unheated floor space for the tortoise to get off the heat mat. In building the houses the most important thing is insulating them top notch to save on the electric use.
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
@Tom
@Len B
My issue with the Radiant Heaters is this .... 10 pens with adult Sulcatas and a 600 watt radiant heater in each one .... 6,000 watts. I would have an electrical nightmare trying to run wiring that would be safe, and dealing with the distance would increase it even more. I 100% agree, Radiant are fantastic and functional but how I would make those work is avoiding my brain. I would only be able to put 2 houses per 20 amp breaker ... x5. This is WHAT I may have to do but am doing my damndest to try and figure another way. I seem to be alone in the camp of "Sulcatas need heat" on a massive scale. EVERY video I see of people that have multiple Sulcatas they are WITHOUT heat. I have yet to see a person that does for 30 or 50 what they do for 1. If a 200-250 watt panel would work I would be able to put 5 houses per breaker, but yes use more power in the end. I REALLY do appreciate your responses and thank you for your time on this.
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
Large Male Sulcatas seem to be EVERY WHERE needing homes. I am not a Craigslist or FaceBook person so I was floored when I went on Craigslist recently and saw at least 2 dozen needing homes, of course they all were asking for thousands of dollars. We are pretty sure this is an area of rescuing we want to make a difference in, we want to house them in optimum conditions ... hence this heat issue.
 

Len B

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
5,030
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Md - Northern Neck Va
You may be over estimating the wattage needed to heat a well insulated house. It's not cold here this morning, 62F right now with strong winds. I just checked the wattage that the 4 houses are using and the total is 494 watts. I also figured out what the total wattage would be if every heat source in each house was running at the same time (something that's never happened) it's 3180 watts total.
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
A 600 watt radiant heater uses 600 watts (-/+ a few watts) when running, a little more on initial startup. When you say 494 watts are those the 600 watt radiant heaters running at that?
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
I really need to order a new "Kill-A-Watt" My last one burned up on a radiant heater set at 1500 watts (Full Power). On initial startup with a 20" box fan plugged in as well it failed, supposed to be able to rate up to 1800 watts,
 

Len B

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Aug 3, 2010
Messages
5,030
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Md - Northern Neck Va
A 600 watt radiant heater uses 600 watts (-/+ a few watts) when running, a little more on initial startup. When you say 494 watts are those the 600 watt radiant heaters running at that?
No, the only heaters on are the mats and electric oil filled radiators. The radiant panels I use max out at 200 watts. I use lamp dimmers to reduce the wattage down to coincide with the other heaters when necessary. This past winter the panels were never necessary to be used.
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,266
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Large Male Sulcatas seem to be EVERY WHERE needing homes. I am not a Craigslist or FaceBook person so I was floored when I went on Craigslist recently and saw at least 2 dozen needing homes, of course they all were asking for thousands of dollars. We are pretty sure this is an area of rescuing we want to make a difference in, we want to house them in optimum conditions ... hence this heat issue.

Yeah you have to separate out those truly needing "rescue" and those people looking to making a buck. Someone even pointed out that some may be stolen because they see the bonkers prices on CL and think people actually pay them!

There is a "rescue" here in LA, I won't name them, but I think they started out similar to you, wanting to help and now they literally have dozens of torts. The main reason I put "rescue" in quotes is because they also are clearly breeding and selling baby sulcata which I just don't think a genuine rescue would do, even if it funds the rest of their rescue.

You will be full up and overrun very quickly, it may get demoralizing...
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
5,102
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Why not use a very large pen and keep several together? That can be done. I have always housed several together and know other who do. Many can live together and sort out a social hierarchy. Some cannot. SO you have to watch as see if one is particularly aggressive and doesn't get along with others and separate that one from the group. I have found a lot of aggression is the sorting out of dominance and dissipates within a week or two. You could very possibly house many together and use the smaller pens for the ones who are just too aggressive.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
93,492
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
. . . and besides what Mark offered think about putting a larger heated shelter on a fenceline that can be shared (with a separating wall to keep the tortoises apart). This would need only one heat source for the shelter
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,858
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom
@Len B
My issue with the Radiant Heaters is this .... 10 pens with adult Sulcatas and a 600 watt radiant heater in each one .... 6,000 watts. I would have an electrical nightmare trying to run wiring that would be safe, and dealing with the distance would increase it even more. I 100% agree, Radiant are fantastic and functional but how I would make those work is avoiding my brain. I would only be able to put 2 houses per 20 amp breaker ... x5. This is WHAT I may have to do but am doing my damndest to try and figure another way. I seem to be alone in the camp of "Sulcatas need heat" on a massive scale. EVERY video I see of people that have multiple Sulcatas they are WITHOUT heat. I have yet to see a person that does for 30 or 50 what they do for 1. If a 200-250 watt panel would work I would be able to put 5 houses per breaker, but yes use more power in the end. I REALLY do appreciate your responses and thank you for your time on this.
This is exactly what I have going at my ranch. Twelve 700 watt heaters. They are never all on at the same time, and it has never been a problem. I've not seen mini radiant oil heaters that run at 600 watts. I got some flat ones that were 400, but they poop out of after a couple few years. The 700 watt ones last forever. Good ideas from Mark and Yvonne. You will be using MORE power going with the heat panels.
 

vladimir

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
1,494
Location (City and/or State)
Pennsylvania
@EppsDynasty I think I missed something - is your plan to start rescuing larger sulcatas from Craigslist and providing them a home? :<3:
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
960
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
@SinLA .... Yes this is going to be a mental exercise of some serious let downs. We have a real problem seeing a suffering tort that is in need of a loving home and not paying to get it the hell out of that poor situation. It is kinda against the grain but we have NO problem paying to RESCUE an animal from a terrible situation.
@Markw84 .... Having 5 or 6 sullys in say 1/2 acre, is this sounding about right? I have thought of this but the inevitable will happen ..Babies or eggs. I imagine it would be very easy though to "Harvest" the eggs (via video camera surveillance) and terminate them .....Whatcha ya all think? If we did do this we could as you say just separate out the Sully Bullies.
@Yvonne G .... I think your on to what we WILL have to do. I HATE wasting wood, any wood, so I have to make it in lengths of 8' or half that 4'. 20'x12' with a concrete floor ..with stall like walls inside for visual barriers and privacy, like a public bathroom. I've seen houses with 10-12 inside but it's always open, I've always thought about making "Sully Stalls," not sure if that would work. I have thought of putting a larger house as well with as you said a wall down the middle.
@Tom .... I trust in your information about your Ranch experience. I have been under the assumption that when they kick on it's at 600 watts, not less power like say 200 ish watts. I REALLY like the radiant heaters because of their non desiccating heat and would love to "Heat" that way. Are you keeping more than 1 together? or seperate?
@vladimir .... Yes, we are (For Sure) going to start rescuing many Sulcata in need of homes. It may just be my inner workings but making as big of an impact on as many as we can is the direction I tend to go. To look into the eyes of a Sulcata that just wants to live and give that to them and then look into those same eyes .... WOW. I truly feel and think that they understand what they are being given. Due to their size and aggression (of some) we see so many more sulcatas than other torts in need of homes (except Desert Tortoises). I love an attitude, it adds personal character to an individual tort and makes caring for them fun. I'm working on the wife for more room on our 10 acres, it seems to be filling up fast. Our plan was NOT a 10 acre tortoise rescue but more like a 5 acre one, how do you say no to a suffering tortoise though. I can see the 10 acres being not enough, as their are more unnecessary breeders everyday.
So to sum it up .... Looks like Radiant Heaters will be the way we go. And we will start trying to figure out a good number of Sullys per acre to be a healthy group.
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,266
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
For what it is worth, I know other rescues that have egg layers (either torts or poultry) and they use the eggs to help sustain rescue. In the case of poultry they sell them (though i don't know the details about if they are sure they are infertile) or in the case of reptile eggs they will feed them to other animals they have. For example if they have rescued racoons, and I think box turtles might also eat protein. You could possibly connect with a wildlife rescue or shelter in your area that could make use of the eggs for wildlife rescue. Do they do condor rescue in your area? Maybe something like that could use them

I am 1000% against when I see tortoise rescues selling babies (usually sulcata) because it perpetuates the problem. I imagine with such wide open spaces it would be hard to harvest all the eggs so would there be a way for you to keep females separate and have just a female creep? I know neutering isn't really possible, I wonder if there is chemical neutering. I know they are looking into it for mammals but with most reptile species more endangered than not, I can't imagine there is a lot of people looking into that.

Although thinking on it, would sulcata eggs even hatch if laid your environement? If not, then I personally wouldn't worry about it so much. I would harvest what you can for use (ie: box turtles, other rescues) but not fret if you can't find them all if they won't hatch anyway
 
Last edited:

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
679
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
I believe your sulcata rescue will be unfortunately very needed. I am not sure how the sheltering system is in there, but in my experience it is terrible for tortoises at least here in Finland! I got my tortoise from a shelter that legally has to take all the animals in need of a shelter in their area, but totally wasn't experienced with reptiles or had the proper resources to care for a one. I mean, the shelter is mainly getting cats and dogs, and have the facility to take care for them, but every once in a while they have to take in something more exotic. I am sure many shelters like that would love to be able get some one experienced to foster the tortoises that get in! They are a rare occurrence in shelters (Most people try to sell their unwanted pet tortoise, or sometimes they even dump them in the wild HERE IN FINLAND, CAN YOU BELIEVE?).
 

SinLA

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 19, 2022
Messages
2,266
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
I believe your sulcata rescue will be unfortunately very needed. I am not sure how the sheltering system is in there, but in my experience it is terrible for tortoises at least here in Finland! I got my tortoise from a shelter that legally has to take all the animals in need of a shelter in their area, but totally wasn't experienced with reptiles or had the proper resources to care for a one. I mean, the shelter is mainly getting cats and dogs, and have the facility to take care for them, but every once in a while they have to take in something more exotic. I am sure many shelters like that would love to be able get some one experienced to foster the tortoises that get in! They are a rare occurrence in shelters (Most people try to sell their unwanted pet tortoise, or sometimes they even dump them in the wild HERE IN FINLAND, CAN YOU BELIEVE?).

Its largely the same here...
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,858
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
@Tom .... I trust in your information about your Ranch experience. I have been under the assumption that when they kick on it's at 600 watts, not less power like say 200 ish watts. I REALLY like the radiant heaters because of their non desiccating heat and would love to "Heat" that way. Are you keeping more than 1 together? or seperate?
When the radiant oil heaters kick on, they are using full power unless you have them set on one of those dimming thermostats, which I have never tried for this application. But they seldom kick on over the course of a night, while the RHPs will literally be running and drying everything out all night. So the calculation is 700 watts for 20-30 minutes two or three times a night, or 200 watts running all night long all the time. Also, I don't know that the RHPs (chicken heaters) alone can get the job done. Your thermometer will answer that question for you. 80 watt RHPs, cannot keep the temperature up alone in my 4x4x2 boxes. I have to use them with an 80 watt Kane mat on the bottom. That combo does it fine even when temps dip below freezing here.

RHPs are less desiccating than some other types, but all electrically generated heat is desiccating.

One idea that I've considered, but never tried is sort of like making my own radiant oil heater. Drop an aquarium heater into a 5 gallon water jug or bucket. Seems lit it could work, and the heat inertia would be much like the oil heaters. Done on a larger scale, I wonder how that would work?

...so would there be a way for you to keep females separate and have just a female creep? I know neutering isn't really possible, I wonder if there is chemical neutering.

Although thinking on it, would sulcata eggs even hatch if laid your environement? If not, then I personally wouldn't worry about it so much. I would harvest what you can for use (ie: box turtles, other rescues) but not fret if you can't find them all if they won't hatch anyway
Penectomies and neutering is possible. I had to have one done on one of my males that injured himself. Its certainly not common like it is on dogs, but it is an available option if people want it.

They will ground hatch if left alone here.
 
Top