Double Door Night Box

Checo Valdez

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1. 2x2, 2x3, and 2x4, is all 1.5" thick when you lay it on its side. This fits with the 1.5" rigid foam perfectly. I use 2x2 in the lid to save weight and either 2x3 or 2x4 everywhere else.

2. I believe the plywood is 11/32". Its the stuff that is $15 and change per sheet at Home Depot. I use the same thickness of plywood for the whole box.

I'm happy that my box inspired you, so please ask as many questions as you like.

Many thanks Tom, I will ask you a lot once I start building it.

I read 3 threads you have post about night boxes and they are all very well explained; I will adapt the idea to my space, tortoise size and budget.
 

Neal

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From the pictures, it looks like the cuts on your insulation are pretty good. What are you using to cut them? I've tried both serrated and smooth blades, but those make a horrible mess. I have a hot knife but it takes forever.

I've always left the bottom of my night enclosures open to the ground. I understand it's extremely inefficient, but seems a more practical option for me since I am most concerned with the bottom becoming destroyed after a season or two from urine and feces. Do you ever need to replace the wood on the bottom?
 

Yvonne G

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I put a straight edge next to where I'm cutting, holding it down tightly, then I use a razor blade cutter. I make several shallow swipes along the straight edge, going deeper each time.

My "straight edge" is a long piece of metal with a bevelled edge on one side.
 

Tom

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From the pictures, it looks like the cuts on your insulation are pretty good. What are you using to cut them? I've tried both serrated and smooth blades, but those make a horrible mess. I have a hot knife but it takes forever.

I've always left the bottom of my night enclosures open to the ground. I understand it's extremely inefficient, but seems a more practical option for me since I am most concerned with the bottom becoming destroyed after a season or two from urine and feces. Do you ever need to replace the wood on the bottom?

I use a long bladed retractable razor knife to cut my insulation. Makes super clean, smooth, straight cuts.

I've got several boxes that I've been using for several years now with nothing but untreated plywood on the bottom. I clean them as needed and use a thin layer of dirt to catch the pee and poo. I scrape out the mud, poop and dirt as needed and replace it with some clean dirt. Most of my boxes stay pretty clean since I soak all of the tortoises regularly. The worst one is my 4x4' box with my 4 female SA leopards. They make a mess in there every day or every other day. Bottom is totally fine despite being a muddy mess nearly every day.
 

Team Gomberg

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I am most concerned with the bottom becoming destroyed after a season or two from urine and feces. Do you ever need to replace the wood on the bottom?

This was my concern too Neal.

But Tom's box is super efficient so I simply lined the bottom with vinyl squares and caulked the connections. Tah-dah No damage to the floor.
I also added Coco coir (and eventually coco husk) as a substrate to make it a humid night box.

IT WORKS WONDERFULLY!
 

Tom

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Great work Tom...^_^

Regarding to the PVC pipe you used to hide the cord, what is the size of the PVC pipe did you use to run the cord through? Great idea about the cord management.

Ooh… I can't remember exactly. It was just some old stuff that I had laying around. It was just big enough to pass the fat end of the plug through. I think it was 2".
 

Tom

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What are the largest tortoises you have? I'm trying to figure out size and equipment I need to build for a 100lb. Sulcata.
The 4x4 box will fit a 100 pound sulcata with no problem. Measure his width and height and add 2 or 3 inches for your door.
 

janevicki

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Thanks for the step by step plan Tom. You are so logical! I'm going to refer to this thread when I have time to build the next heated house for my Burmese. Sorry if I'm asking something that you already covered, but where did you get the oil heater? Also where do you keep the probe end of the thermostat? Thanks again.
 
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Here is my usual box that I screw to the side to keep all my cords and electrical stuff contained and out of reach of the tortoises. Notice the weather stripping too. This is an important step in containing your warm air on a cold night.
View attachment 150112


I learned this trick from Joe, @Dizisdalife . These little computer fans circulate your warm air and humidity when the lid is all closed up at night. Keeps things more evenly heated all around.
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I attach the heater to the floor with chain and screws. If this box flipped over in a giant earthquake, the heater wouldn't move.
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I don't have all the tubs cut out yet, but you can see the shelves where the water tubs will sit. I use these tubs to give the interior of the box a little humidity. My climate is VERY dry year round, and I've found that keeping the warm night boxes humidified helps keep the growth going smoother once they all move outside.
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Here is the finished product in place, up and running:
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And finally the wide shot:
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I see the tubs for humidity. Thank you. I have a lot of work ahead of me but grateful for the post and pictures :)
 

brokerheather

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I LOVE the cord storage, going to have to copy that. I just built mine and put the computer fan in the top, so it can draw air in and through. Living in Phoenix I think that will be good in the summer. My vet suggested a dripping of frozen water setup, that I have also found a really cool thing to incorporate to make that doable. We also did a shelf for a medium sized water bucket. Now, I've got to figure out the equipment and how to set this dang thing!
 

Tom

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I LOVE the cord storage, going to have to copy that. I just built mine and put the computer fan in the top, so it can draw air in and through. Living in Phoenix I think that will be good in the summer. My vet suggested a dripping of frozen water setup, that I have also found a really cool thing to incorporate to make that doable. We also did a shelf for a medium sized water bucket. Now, I've got to figure out the equipment and how to set this dang thing!

In Phoenix, your tortoise will need to be underground in summer.

The problem with the fan drawing air in to the box is that the air temp outside is seldom the temp you want inside. Either its too hot outside and you want to keep the coolness of night time, or its too cold outside and you want to keep the warm heated air inside and not blow cold air in.
 

Bobbi Crane

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I make these little portals over my doors to keep rain ou on the rare occasion that we get rain here:
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Here is the inside front and side all framed up and with insulation in place. Next I run a silicone bead put the walls up and screw them to the framing all around:
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Here the sides, front and back are all sealed and buttoned up. I've added the little walled area that will keep the torts from touching the heater and you can see the removable divider in the middle. Next summer I plan to mix the males and females. When that finally happens I will probably remove the divider and let them all move back and forth between the pens as needed. This will give me the option of separating the male if he becomes too aggressive, and I can also close one door, remove the divider and make them all live on one side while I grow stuff to graze on one side or the other. Options. This box gives me lots of options.
View attachment 150106


I hate power cords sitting out exposed. They get weathered, tripped on, and I don't want the torts to have access to them.
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Here is what I came up with for this situation. I ran the cord through this pipe into the ground and buried the remainder.
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Same thing on the side where it plugs in:
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Here it is all done and plugged in. No cord! :) :
View attachment 150110



One more post and we will be done...
Thanks Tom! This was actually one of the posts I was looking at a couple months ago at how to make a heated house. I love the idea of making it to where can separate them from the inside. Great job!
 
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