Cool high temps coming, need advice

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Our forecast shows a string of days with highs in the low 60s coming up. Sunny, a little breezy (5-10 mph). I’ve been bringing Leo in at night and letting him out to patrol from around noon to 5pm, but he doesn’t do much patrolling since temps have been only reaching ~70 degrees. Is it tool chilly for him to be out for a two or three hours if it’s sunny but temps only reach 60-63 degrees? Humidity is very low (outside of his indoor enclosure) this time of year, so he won’t be hunkering in damp soil. I do not want to keep him cooped up all day in his indoor enclosure unless it’s unsafe for him to be outdoors. I’m waiting for a much larger indoor enclosure from Animal Plastics, but I ordered it in August and their lead times were 3-7 months when I ordered it so it could be a few more months. I know it’s still way too small for him but again, it’ll just be for him to use overnight and during cold/rainy spells until I have a proper heated night box for him so he can live outside all year.

Additional info: He weighs at least 15 lbs and has an insulated doghouse with a heat mat, but only goes in it to eat… he tends to hunker down under a shrub after eating during this time of the year, unless temps get above 75 degrees. Fortunately, in my area, we normally see a decent number of days that meet that threshold, even in winter. I try to soak him every day for at least an hour to get the tortoise treadmill going, but occasionally skip a day. His appetite is great, as are his pooping and peeing. His indoor enclosure is not sufficient for his size but it is useful as a heated hide for him to sleep in. I am hoping to have a heated night box built for him soon, using @Tom ’s design, but I’m at the mercy of the person kind enough to build it for me.
 

wellington

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If he were an adult and had a heated night box to go into when he wanted then he could go outside and be able to go into his heated house or stay in it if he chose to.
Being smaller, he needs to stay in temps no lower then 80 day and night or yes, it could be very dangerous for him.
An adult being larger can retain more heat then a little one.
 

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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If he were an adult and had a heated night box to go into when he wanted then he could go outside and be able to go into his heated house or stay in it if he chose to.
Being smaller, he needs to stay in temps no lower then 80 day and night or yes, it could be very dangerous for him.
An adult being larger can retain more heat then a little one.
Thank you, I’ll keep him inside. At what size/weight would he be safe to be outside for a two or three hours in 60-65 degree, sunny weather?
 

Magz

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Thank you, I’ll keep him inside. At what size/weight would he be safe to be outside for a two or three hours in 60-65 degree, sunny weather?
I'd wait until 20 or 25 lbs...then start at an hour and let him get the idea. BUT...he needs a place to go to get warm if he's gonna get cold outside. When I put Mary in the snow she gets under her che right away. Not the same on a pig blanket. Just my opinion DSCN0187.JPG
 

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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I'd wait until 20 or 25 lbs...then start at an hour and let him get the idea. BUT...he needs a place to go to get warm if he's gonna get cold outside. When I put Mary in the snow she gets under her che right away. Not the same on a pig blanket. Just my opinion View attachment 351980

Thanks, Maggie. I appreciate the info. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Ms. Knobbins. :)
 

Maro2Bear

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Where outside? Ground temps in direct sunlight & out of wind can be much much warmer than your 60 degree reading. If you have an IR temp gauge, check a few bricks or rocks & see what they read.

It’s 47 here now, in the shade, but much much warmer in direct sun.

I just IR temp’d deck boards in 🌞🌞 - 95-100. Sun’s been on them 2.5 hours or so. Your results might vary, but u get the point.

Monitor closely - cold temps arent good.
 

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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Where outside? Ground temps in direct sunlight & out of wind can be much much warmer than your 60 degree reading. If you have an IR temp gauge, check a few bricks or rocks & see what they read.

It’s 47 here now, in the shade, but much much warmer in direct sun.

I just IR temp’d deck boards in 🌞🌞 - 95-100. Sun’s been on them 2.5 hours or so. Your results might vary, but u get the point.

Monitor closely - cold temps arent good.
I’ll check our rock/patio temps later today. I was hoping he’d be good if he were basking in the sun if there’s no wind, but I don’t want to risk him getting sick… I come home to let him outside when it gets warm enough, but I then must return to the office for a few hours so I cannot monitor him. He’s almost always under an Indian hawthorn plant when I return home, but he sometimes does not feel as warm as I’d like when I retrieve him - these are the times I suspect he hasn't done any patrolling. Usually, he’s warm. Our backyard is on the west side of the house, so it gets full afternoon sun. Brutal in summer, but I appreciate it this time of the year.

Thank you, Mark, I appreciate the advice.
 

wellington

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Thank you, I’ll keep him inside. At what size/weight would he be safe to be outside for a two or three hours in 60-65 degree, sunny weather?
He has to be much bigger, more adult size, 25-30 pounds. However even at that size or bigger he needs a heated house that he can't get himself in and out of.
At around 10 inches he can live outside 24/7 except where it gets cold. Then he needs a heated large shed or large heated room set up just for him.
I'm in Chicago, cold, snowy winters. My leopards live inside an insulated heated shed all winter.
 

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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He has to be much bigger, more adult size, 25-30 pounds. However even at that size or bigger he needs a heated house that he can't get himself in and out of.
At around 10 inches he can live outside 24/7 except where it gets cold. Then he needs a heated large shed or large heated room set up just for him.
I'm in Chicago, cold, snowy winters. My leopards live inside an insulated heated shed all winter.
Thanks, Wellington. Here in the outskirts of the Phoenix area, he opted to stay outside all summer. Of course, it rarely gets below 75 in summer, so I reluctantly left the rosemary plant he’d taken to hiding under intact (it’s huge and extremely dense, I never could pinpoint or access exactly where he was in it). But since temps started coming down, he’s returned to the old, accessible spots in the late afternoon so I can bring him in every night. I’d hoped he’d take to the temporary solution of the insulated doghouse w/heat mat, but no such luck. Hoping to have the box Tom designed ready soon.

Again, thanks so much! Happy Thanksgiving.
 

Tom

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Our forecast shows a string of days with highs in the low 60s coming up. Sunny, a little breezy (5-10 mph). I’ve been bringing Leo in at night and letting him out to patrol from around noon to 5pm, but he doesn’t do much patrolling since temps have been only reaching ~70 degrees. Is it tool chilly for him to be out for a two or three hours if it’s sunny but temps only reach 60-63 degrees? Humidity is very low (outside of his indoor enclosure) this time of year, so he won’t be hunkering in damp soil. I do not want to keep him cooped up all day in his indoor enclosure unless it’s unsafe for him to be outdoors. I’m waiting for a much larger indoor enclosure from Animal Plastics, but I ordered it in August and their lead times were 3-7 months when I ordered it so it could be a few more months. I know it’s still way too small for him but again, it’ll just be for him to use overnight and during cold/rainy spells until I have a proper heated night box for him so he can live outside all year.

Additional info: He weighs at least 15 lbs and has an insulated doghouse with a heat mat, but only goes in it to eat… he tends to hunker down under a shrub after eating during this time of the year, unless temps get above 75 degrees. Fortunately, in my area, we normally see a decent number of days that meet that threshold, even in winter. I try to soak him every day for at least an hour to get the tortoise treadmill going, but occasionally skip a day. His appetite is great, as are his pooping and peeing. His indoor enclosure is not sufficient for his size but it is useful as a heated hide for him to sleep in. I am hoping to have a heated night box built for him soon, using @Tom ’s design, but I’m at the mercy of the person kind enough to build it for me.
Once they are 8-10 inches, they can live outside full time in your climate with a heated insulated shelter. As you've probably noticed, dog houses don't work very well.

The house needs to stay 85-86 this time of year, and he can come and go during the day as he pleases, and be locked in at night. The house needs clear door flaps, and it will probably take a couple of weeks for him to learn the routine of going in and out. If you find him outside on a cool day parked under a bush getting cold, put him in the box. Let him walk back out if he chooses, but keep putting him back inside if he stops walking around or trying to bask in the sun. He will learn.

In your scorching summers, start a burrow for him where you want it and encourage him to dig himself. This is the safest and best way for them to live in hot climates. Block the burrow entrance with a weighted sheet of plywood in fall and start making him sleep above ground in the box again for the winter. In spring when the weather starts getting near 100 again, remove the plywood and let him have the burrow again.
 

LeoTheWaywardTortoise

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Once they are 8-10 inches, they can live outside full time in your climate with a heated insulated shelter. As you've probably noticed, dog houses don't work very well.

The house needs to stay 85-86 this time of year, and he can come and go during the day as he pleases, and be locked in at night. The house needs clear door flaps, and it will probably take a couple of weeks for him to learn the routine of going in and out. If you find him outside on a cool day parked under a bush getting cold, put him in the box. Let him walk back out if he chooses, but keep putting him back inside if he stops walking around or trying to bask in the sun. He will learn.

In your scorching summers, start a burrow for him where you want it and encourage him to dig himself. This is the safest and best way for them to live in hot climates. Block the burrow entrance with a weighted sheet of plywood in fall and start making him sleep above ground in the box again for the winter. In spring when the weather starts getting near 100 again, remove the plywood and let him have the burrow again.
Thanks, Tom. Yeah, the doghouse is great for keeping his food dish sheltered but that’s about it. I will be *so happy* when the proper night box is ready. I’ll follow your advice for getting him to use it.

Regarding burrows… I started a burrow for him where I wanted him to dig, but he showed zero interest. Over and over I tried, I was really worried about him in our summer. I created some deeply shaded, humid microclimates for him, and fortunately he came through like a champ. I intended to bring him inside if temps exceeded 108, but I couldn’t find him to do that (except Friday-Sunday, my days off; I’d park myself on the back porch in the morning and wait for him to emerge from his hiding areas, then bring him in, soak him, and put him in his enclosure). Then, late this summer, I was delighted to discover a burrow he’d dug in a different part of the yard. It was in an area that was partially hidden by tall grass. Unfortunately, I had to block it off not long after because temps were dropping and storms were forecast. I’ve read threads about Sulcatas not coming out and eventually dying in burrows, and they terrified me. Since the weather has cooled, he hasn’t attempted another burrow.
 

OliveW

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Oh geez, I've been keeping Tortimer's house at 80 degrees! I don't know why I had that in my head. I'll crank it up to 85. He loves his house and goes in there voluntarily all the time. I thought it was going to be a battle, but it wasn't at all.

He doesn't have a clear door yet, just a very light, thin piece of something that is on a hinge and swings both ways. I might just give him the flap off our dog door, since our dogs haven't used it in years. I also didn't know his door was supposed to be clear.

His night box/house is not the same design as Tom's. We started to do that, then decided to incorporate a waist high raised garden bed to act as the roof to his crib. It works well, retains good heat, as I have thermometers at both ends, and most importantly, he likes it.
 

Tom

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Oh geez, I've been keeping Tortimer's house at 80 degrees! I don't know why I had that in my head. I'll crank it up to 85. He loves his house and goes in there voluntarily all the time. I thought it was going to be a battle, but it wasn't at all.

He doesn't have a clear door yet, just a very light, thin piece of something that is on a hinge and swings both ways. I might just give him the flap off our dog door, since our dogs haven't used it in years. I also didn't know his door was supposed to be clear.

His night box/house is not the same design as Tom's. We started to do that, then decided to incorporate a waist high raised garden bed to act as the roof to his crib. It works well, retains good heat, as I have thermometers at both ends, and most importantly, he likes it.
I only go up to 86 in the night boxes in winter here because our daytime highs are usually in the 60s or low 70s.

If your Florida days are warmer than that and sunny, then you could leave it at 80.
 

OliveW

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I only go up to 86 in the night boxes in winter here because our daytime highs are usually in the 60s or low 70s.

If your Florida days are warmer than that and sunny, then you could leave it at 80.

Thank you, Tom! We've been around 80 daytime temps this past week. Back to normal, thankfully.

When/if winter returns, I'll crank up his night time heat on those nights.

We don't typically have days in the 60's during our short winter, however we do have some days in the 70's. During the daytime, when the outdoor temp is lower than 80, should I keep his house at 80 or 85 during the DAY?

It's almost always sunny here, regardless of the temperature, and Tortimer always has the option of basking in the sun, which he does daily.
 

Tom

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Thank you, Tom! We've been around 80 daytime temps this past week. Back to normal, thankfully.

When/if winter returns, I'll crank up his night time heat on those nights.

We don't typically have days in the 60's during our short winter, however we do have some days in the 70's. During the daytime, when the outdoor temp is lower than 80, should I keep his house at 80 or 85 during the DAY?

It's almost always sunny here, regardless of the temperature, and Tortimer always has the option of basking in the sun, which he does daily.
If there is plenty of sunshine in the enclosure, with the daytime high in the mid to high 70s, and you see him basking to warm up, then leaving it at 80 is probably fine.
 
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