Double Door Night Box

Pearly

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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.
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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! :) :
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One more post and we will be done...
Tom, I know those are old threads, but how wonderful of you to have posted all those night box threads!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!
 

Tom

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Tom, I know those are old threads, but how wonderful of you to have posted all those night box threads!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!
You are welcome. I hope they help!

I've tried all sorts of ways to house tortoises outside and watched other people's attempts too. Deck boxes, sheds, dog houses, dogloos, buried trashcans, cinderblocks, hay bale houses, etc… I found all of them lacking and so I began designing and building my own. I learned new things as I built and used each box and I've continually found ways to improve them, and make them better for each species or individual. These threads about these boxes show the evolution of my design, and where I'm at currently with my ideas. They are not prefect, but they work very well for me.
 

littleginsu

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Hey, @Tom. Finally getting the supply list for making some night boxes and wanted to know what kind/size hinges and latches do you use for the top of the box? Thanks!
 

Tom

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Hey, @Tom. Finally getting the supply list for making some night boxes and wanted to know what kind/size hinges and latches do you use for the top of the box? Thanks!
Get the more expensive galvanized stuff. It will last longer. I do two 4" door hinges for the tops and usually two 2" galvanized hinges for each door. I use the sliding bolt latches for the doors and any of them will work.
 

littleginsu

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Get the more expensive galvanized stuff. It will last longer. I do two 4" door hinges for the tops and usually two 2" galvanized hinges for each door. I use the sliding bolt latches for the doors and any of them will work.

Thank you so much!
 
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Donutsgranny

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We have our outdoor house almost complete (though finishing touches on outside to be completed later. Neither my daughter or I are very good at this wood building but now we need idea for how to add a door, we'd like a double door so that we can get in the house periodically to clean it out. So I am thinking I need to frame around the inside top and sides then around the outside so I have something to attach the hinges too. What do you all think. I just hv that 2x 4 leaning on the bottom I need a bigger piece. For the roof we intend to just put a piece of plywood, insulation plywood. (finishing touches like a material to cover the outside we will have to add later. Will add either a piece of linoleum or a horse rubberized mat to floor. Hopefully with a oil filled radiator this should get us thru the winter. When I sy double door I mean like a shed door would be. This box sits on a concrete slab and is inside a chainlink dog kennel that has a roof, so I have to have a fixed roof as there isn't enough room to have a hinged roof.
 

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Donutsgranny

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Do you think this box would work in Ohio in the winter? Maybe if I double the insulation?
I think you would need to add heat too. This will be our guys first winter out, though we are in a warmer climate. Its already dropping into the upper 50's . Our tort house isn't complete, hope to get it at least closed in this weekend and I have a oil filled radiator on hand.
 

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Yes Cheryl, I agree with Donutsgranny, I would truly add more heat and the insulation if in Ohio. I am adding flappers to the inside of the openings to keep the warm air in and the cold out because mine go in and out of their warm house all day and sleep all night in it. So I will be adding doors too to keep other outdoor creatures from joining them during the night.

Sigh, I will be needing to make a new "night box" for my tortoises soon for the upcoming winter. They have outgrown their old one in 3 years! (I did not think they would grow that fast.) Don't do what I did; make your "night box" as big as your max size of your tortoises so you only make the box once.

Good luck everyone with their tortoise builds!
 

Donutsgranny

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I'm still trying to come up with a plan for the door on mine. I have to make a shed type door, I think, so I can get in and out of it tomato adjustments for heating and cleaning.
 

Tom

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We have our outdoor house almost complete (though finishing touches on outside to be completed later. Neither my daughter or I are very good at this wood building but now we need idea for how to add a door, we'd like a double door so that we can get in the house periodically to clean it out. So I am thinking I need to frame around the inside top and sides then around the outside so I have something to attach the hinges too. What do you all think. I just hv that 2x 4 leaning on the bottom I need a bigger piece. For the roof we intend to just put a piece of plywood, insulation plywood. (finishing touches like a material to cover the outside we will have to add later. Will add either a piece of linoleum or a horse rubberized mat to floor. Hopefully with a oil filled radiator this should get us thru the winter. When I sy double door I mean like a shed door would be. This box sits on a concrete slab and is inside a chainlink dog kennel that has a roof, so I have to have a fixed roof as there isn't enough room to have a hinged roof.
A few helpful comments:
  • I think its a mistake to make the box so tall. All your heat will rise to the top so you'll be wasting a lot of energy heating air the tortoise will never be in, and that will simultaneously make it more difficult to heat the floor area where the tortoise is.
  • If the box were lower, say 24" on the outside and 21.5" inside, you'd be able to build a hinged lid that could be propped up with a 2x4 for cleaning, and a drawbridge style door that will hold in heat better than two big shed-style doors.
  • You've used OSB for the floor. I would recommend OSB for any part of the construction, but especially not on the floor where all the "mess" will be. You will likely have to replace that floor in a year or two. Might be better to just cover it now with some 11/32 plywood. This will make it last a lot longer, and you can just replace the plywood in a few years, if needed.
  • One advantage if you decide to keep the box that height, is that you can put your mini oil-heater up on a shelf to keep more floor space for the tortoise. Make the bottom of the shelf 2-3 inches taller than how big you think your tortoise will eventually get. Usually 16" is plenty. I'd run a small computer fan over the heater to blow the warm air down in a tall box like that.
 

Donutsgranny

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Hi Tom,
Thanks for your insight it is appreciated. I should have made the box much smaller however its too late now, maybe I will add a kane mat to it so he will have a warm spot, and do the shelf idea. I will hang some plastic strips on the inside where the door is going so when I open one side he can go in and out, plus it will help keep out drafts. I will add the shelf for the oil heater too. We didn't plan this out very well. We came across two attic stair units., removed the stairs then we bolted them together. they had plywood on one side so we just screwed it down, then we added insulation to it and put a sheet of plywood on top and the basically built around it. What we found was the plywood we used didn't have enough support and would flex so when a neighbor was throwing out the osb board we cut it and laid it across the floor, it is not screwed down just fits very tightly. I'm getting a rubber horse mat and will lay it on top or home depot has some pretty cheap linoleum and maybe we could lay the down too. That shed is so heavy now its not going away. Hopefully it will get us through the winter months. To me this is more trouble than its worth but I can't convince my daughter to rehome him and she did do most of the work on the big box. The nights are creeping into the upper 50's so it is what it is for now, maybe next year we can figure out a way to make it shorter. The good thing is we put it together with mostly screws so we should be able to reuse a lot of it. Though I don't like the plywood she bought its too thin.
 

Donutsgranny

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Thanks again for all the great advise. While I didn't want to take what we started apart I've added some of your advise. Here are some current photos.

So as you can see from our last post of Sept 30, we have added plywood to floor and a shelf. We also made the door opening smaller and added the bottom half of a dutch door, my intention was to have that part as a drawbridge door but I couldn't get it to work properly so. Then I came across a remnant of linoleum so added that on top of the plywood floor. Today I will add the top half of the door, then onto the heat and lighting. I'm feeling a lil better about all this but should have read this thread first and could have saved time and $ and it would have been more efficient. Any further advise is always good.
 

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Tom

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Thanks again for all the great advise. While I didn't want to take what we started apart I've added some of your advise. Here are some current photos.

So as you can see from our last post of Sept 30, we have added plywood to floor and a shelf. We also made the door opening smaller and added the bottom half of a dutch door, my intention was to have that part as a drawbridge door but I couldn't get it to work properly so. Then I came across a remnant of linoleum so added that on top of the plywood floor. Today I will add the top half of the door, then onto the heat and lighting. I'm feeling a lil better about all this but should have read this thread first and could have saved time and $ and it would have been more efficient. Any further advise is always good.
This is a journey. You learn as you go. I certainly did. My first attempts at tortoise house building were flawed and not nearly as good as yours is. The thermometer will tell the tale about whether or not your box is "good enough". I bet it will be.

I'm concerned about the linoleum floor. Make sure the tortoise is able to walk on it without slipping. Slick floors can cause orthopedic problems for them.

I'm glad you've shared your journey here and think it will help others (including me!) learn. Once you start using the box, I hope you'll share your temperatures, experiences, and insight with us.
 

Donutsgranny

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Seems I finished just in time as temperature this morning was 51 degree F. He is snug as a bug in his mulch in his new house with the oil filled radiator keeping it warm. His heat mat is in the mail. I used the reptile forest floor mulch but am looking for some more cheaper...mulch that can be added to this. I'm also going to order a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the house. First I had it too warm then adjusted it felt too cold and last night got it to where it seemed ok. I still have to add his light as its pretty dark in there and for days he doesn't want to come outside. I have a shower curtain, never used lying about and plan on using that on the door so it can hold some heat in while giving him access to the outdoors. (I'll cut strips in it as I can't find any of the flooring type. I did see on line they sell strips the are used on commercial refrigerators but man they come in big rolls and are very expensive. But I think they would be ideal. Maybe I'll buy a lottery ticket and see? lol Yes Tom it is a journey . This box is about 4 ft high enough I can get in and clean and make heat adjustments and not enough not to break my old back climbing in it. My back and sciatic nerve is out of whack today so its a rest day. My recommendation is to go with your 2 ft box with hinged roof, too late for me but good for others.
 

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