Alexander the Greek

Jlant85

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As long as the daytime has high heat, nighttime at 50-60 is ok. I have my greeks outside at that temperature at night and they adapted well. I dont like messing with the Exo Terra Heat Wave rocks due to that fact that hey can really hurt themselves on it.
 

laclone

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Nix the rock

Thanks J,

I'd decided against that heated rock idea already, for the exact reason you mentioned. Plus that those are not meant for outdoor use, despite their claims of being waterproof. I just thought that a small heat source that only used 5-10 watts might be something to think about.

The more I observe Alex while he's in the enclosure, the more I see that he's most comfortable and active in the high 70's and low 80's range. During higher temp times, he makes a bee-line for his tort/man cave and sets out the heat.

I really think that these little guys were miss-labeled when someone named them a "Desert Tortoise" ("Desert" meaning something that loves to exist in "A dry, often sandy region of little rainfall, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation.".

I think that if Alex had been born in the wild years ago, and could've talked to whoever it was that originally classified his species, he would have been classified as a "Gee!-I-wish-I-lived-in-a-place-comfortably-warm-and-full-of-grass-and-weeds Tortoise.".
Testudo Vacationious Desireious
 

laclone

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Call of the Wild!

Well, the weather has been co-operating lately, and I've been able to leave Alex totally outside in his domain for the last week now.

He seems to be enjoying it, and I know it's good for him, but I still worry about him being outside (for no other reason than I worry about him [ Newbie-itious]).

The large 18 inch water dish next to the area of the enclosure where we feed him was a good idea, as I've seen him several times now just sitting in it for a while and doing his own soaking whenever he feels like it.

Unfortunately, this afternoons weather doesn't look good, as storms are popping-up all over and flash-flood warnings are in effect. I think I'll bring him back inside for safety.
 

laclone

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I always thought the Tortoise table site was only for what plants to feed them or plant in an enclosure.

Little did I know it also covers what plants to not even have near an enclosure. I might have re-thought the location.

There's two Horse Chestnut trees directly behind the fence at that location, and now that Fall is setting in, they are among the first trees to shed their leaves. All over!

IMG 20130903 00110 IMG 20130903 00112

As the table states that all parts of this tree are very toxic to Tortoises, everyday now, or more often, I clean his enclosure of all the leaves that have dropped into it, and make sure that the water dishes are clean of algae and have fresh water in them. I don't want a dead leaf to have soaked in the water long enough to have passed on it's poison.

I'm only being paranoid because everything is out to get my Tort! LOL;)
 
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Jlant85

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^_^ Sorry been out for a while but yes i love that website! You mention at an earlier post that your friend don't uses that website but to each its own. I know everybody has their own opinion on certain things but in the end its you who has to make the decision making. How is everything?
 

laclone

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Not a friend. McAfee Anti-Virus.
Every time I tried to go there before, McAfee would pop up a warning about that website.

I finally have a working link to it, although it doesn't mention anything about a common lawn weed in the U.S. known as Dollar Weed. Anyone know if it's ok?
 

Moozillion

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I have dollar weed all over my yard an into my torts enclosure. She is a Hermann's tort- not exactly the same as a Greek, but from the Mediterranean area. She seems to ignore it. Just FYI dollar weed is apparently regarded as edible for humans! I tried a taste of one and was not particularly impressed. :D

Your enclosure looks GREAT!! You sure have put in a lot of research, sweat and love into getting your tort well set up!!! Nice job!!!
 

laclone

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A picture of the enclosure?
Sure, but aside from a few more patches of sod, a small spider plant offshoot I put in for the heck of it, and a scattering of naturally occurring growth popping up here and there, it hasn't changed much since the last pics.

IMG 20130915 00113 IMG 20130915 00114 IMG 20130915 00115 IMG 20130915 00116 IMG 20130915 00117

Maybe it has a more 'Lived-In' look about it now.

Fall is setting in now, and it's time to start setting up Alex's indoor Winter-Over Quarters. Space is going to be really tight, but I hope I can make it better than what he had before.


Oh! I forgot.

Thank you Moozilion for the compliments and info on the dollar weed.

I'll remember that it's edible the next time the lawn mower quits on me.
 
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Jlant85

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Once again bad *** enclosure! Wish i had a bigger area for mine >.< you have one beautiful tortoise and for them staying out, Iberas adapts a lot better compared to other tortoises. they are tanks! TANKS! lol...
 

laclone

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No kidding with the Subject-Line. Valley Forge is only 3 miles away from here.

As I mentioned before, it's time to build Alex a new indoor enclosure for waiting out this winter. With this, I got some assistance from my sister-in-law, bless her heart, who surprised me with her buying this child's sandbox as a base for it.

http://www.wayfair.com/Step2-Naturally-Playful-Sandbox-7220KR-STP1003.html

Her daughter has a Leopard Tortoise named Mortise, and a few years ago, she kept Mortise overwinter in the same thing inside our old winter plant room, which then became my niece, Shelbi's, bedroom while she was here.

The plant room gets a great deal of winter sunlight from the 2 windows that face SE & SW. The room also has furnace baseboard heaters and an in-wall electric heater. It can maintain a middle 70's temperature all winter long

The sandbox isn't what I was thinking of using , as the ornamental nature of the sides take up a lot of square inches of floor space, that I rather be used for Alex's living space. It is, however, a watertight structure with no chance of any water or waste leakage passing on to damage the 200 yr. old hard wood floors (It's an old house.).

It is what it is, and we use what we've got.

I'm asking for some help, feedback, and suggestions on building this.

Here's some pics and information on what I've got to work with.

IMG 20130918 00124
This is the sandbox (without the lid) as it comes out of the box. As Alex was kept in this wadding pool seen here IMG 20130728 00030 since he was acquired, with very little substrate material, I'm not happy about his rear leg development, as the surface of the plastic had little texture to it and afforded him little traction as he moved about. I am glad that the surface of the new plastic has a more pebble-grain texture to it. But I still plan on lining the bottom of the new thing with cheap 1 ft. sq. ceramic tiles, finished side down, so that when his claws dig through the coco substrate while walking, they find traction with a real rock-like surface.

The old, circular plastic enclosure has an inside diameter of about 36 inches. This new one has a floor space of approx. 42 inches X 29 inches. He's not really gaining much in over-all floor space.
The challenge is to make it a more 'Active' environment. Rather than just provide the heat/light/water he needs, he needs to want to explore (exercise), within a confined space.
While exploring indoor enclosure ideas online, I ran across this one, and was very impressed with how a lot of features could be built inside a small space.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXCh3VJ-ZCE

As a result, I thought about adding something along the lines of this to the new enclosure
IMG 20130728 00030

With wing boards, such as she had, added to the sides of such a build, they could solidly support a UVB and Heat lamp mounting configuration. *

* When the aforementioned sister-in-laws daughter moved into a new house, they continued to use the 'clamp-on' style of lights and heat for Mortise.
Mortise knocked one down,, and a house fire occurred.

3 months before they could move back inside their house.


Here's a basic concept idea of what I have in mind.

IMG 20130918 00125

Although, now that I look at it, it might be better to build 2, smaller, ramp accessible 2nd level balconies in diagonal corners of the base.

IMG 20130918 00123

Back sides enclosed to prevent escape, of course.

Let me know what you think. I haven't started it yet, but time is short.
 
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laclone

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Alexander Wintering-Over at Valley Forge

Thanks all, for the quick lighting info from the Enclosure Lighting thread.

Here's some quick pics of the basic set-up as of tonight.

IMG 20130930 00135
Here's the thing in the corner of the plant room where it'll be for the winter.
Trust me. Once all the other stuff gets moved out, this place will look like Jurassic Park with all the other plants moved indoors.

IMG 20130930 00139
And the light hanging, with the bottom of the shade at the previous 28 inch mark.

IMG 20130930 00138
And Alex in the old enclosure, saying "Get me outta here!"

I'll be working on the new indoor enclosure tomorrow. Building the corner pieces for him to hide in, as well as using them to provide a place for us to set some of the potted plants on for the winter.

I first thought that I'd need both a CHE and a MVB rigged up for him. The MVB for the daytime, and the CHE for the night (I want to keep a day/night lighting cycle.). But as the plant room air temps never gets below 70 degrees during the winter, I think I can do away with the CHE for the night heating.

It's hard to describe in words, but I'll keep everyone updated with pics and feeble narration as it goes on.

L.
 
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laclone

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Jurassic Park

Well, things didn't go as planed.

I ended up having to do this as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Welcome to Alex's winter headquarters.

Welcome to Jurassic Park!

IMG 20131015 00181 IMG 20131015 00174 IMG 20131015 00180
 

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laclone

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Here's some details on the indoor Jurassic Park build.

Excluding the cost of the MVB bulb ($60), and the sandbox my sister-in-law bought ($70), the cost of materials was $54.06.

Financial shortages forced me to use cheap, un-treated 1/2 inch plywood, cut into 1 ft. x 4 ft. pieces, instead of the solid wood panels I had intended to use. I also had to skip putting the ceramic tiles in the bottom of the box.

As this build also has to support the weight of several heavy plants, the plastic sandbox couldn't be used to support any of their vertically transmitted weight. The plastic corner structures of the box were just too thin and weak to do so. So, other than the support leg pieces nestled-up against the sides of it, none of the build actually touches sandbox at all.

Here's the Loft/Rec room end-cap piece in place.
IMG 20131014 00147 IMG 20131014 00148

And here's the other end-cap piece.
IMG 20131014 00156 IMG 20131014 00158

This end-cap has a large open area under it, allowing it to be positioned to cover the open area of the sandbox to varying depths, as seen here.
IMG 20131014 00159 IMG 20131014 00160

I decided to keep the sandbox as open as possible to maximize the light and air flow over it. The shelf board over the open end of it has a 2" wide brace piece of plywood T-Boned to the bottom of it, with the ends anchored to the support legs to support the plant weights above it.

I kept the infrared basking spot light from Alex's old enclosure to create the hot-spot, as he really likes it, and is familiar with it, and raised the MVB bulb a bit to provide the UVA and UVB light he needs over the widest area. It also keeps the rest of the enclosure at comfortable temps.

Examining the temps over the whole enclosure, the hot-spot holds on the substrate at a 98 directly under it, and a 92 a foot to either side of it. The MVB bulb side has a high 70's directly under it, and keeps the ends of the enclosure in the low 70's.
In fact, I just shot every area of the enclosure, including the inside of the 2nd story Loft, and can't find a temp lower than 72 anywhere.

As winter get's into full swing, I expect those temps to vary a bit, but not by much, as this room has winter-housed tropical plants over many years.

As soon as I can, I'll get a Hydrometer to monitor the humidity here, but as the plants are watered every day, I don't think the humidity will ever get below 50% in this room.

L.
 
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laclone

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OK, Alex! That Wasn't Funny!!!!

Alex scared the bejeezes out of me today!

As previously mentioned, his indoor enclosure is in the upstairs plant room, which is just off to the side of the bathroom.

I was out today doing yard work. Cutting firewood, mowing the lawn, and a bunch of other honeydew stuff before winter sets in. During all this, whenever summoned by TPTB, I would often look in on him before answering the call.

I came in one time this afternoon and looked in, and found him motionless. Perfectly still, lying on top of his food dish, on his right side! A perfect 90 degrees to the angle we normally expect to see our torts in! Left legs extended and still. Head stretched out, right legs extended along the bottom of the dish, the back of his shell braced against the small lip of the food dish.
And he wasn't moving!

(OMG! I killed him! I did something wrong and killed him!)

Now, I took in everything above in only the longest nano-second ever. I knelt down and picked him up, expecting to hold a dead tortoise..., and he started squirming and moving!

(I swear! He was laughing at me!)


Close as I can figure what happened is this.

If you look at the pics of the enclosure, you'll see that I put his old half-log hidie-hole thing under the 2nd floor loft shelf of the new enclosure, the end of which still sticks out a bit now. Alex loved to climb that thing, and I think he tried to climb just that one end and fell off, onto his food dish. Then, while in the process of righting himself, I walked into the room and he froze in place at the sudden intrusion.

He's not going to let me live this down.
 
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