Equipment advice.

pippin

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May 17, 2024
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Preston uk
Morning all. Can anyone advice or point me in the right direction of what equipment is best for my 20 year old Eastern herman tortoise? We only got her 2 weeks ago and have set up temporary housing for her but want to get it right before wasting more money on wrong equipment. I realise its subject to personal preference but any help appreciated.As stated in my previous posts we are in the North of the UK (lancashire) and we want to aim to have Shelly out as much as is feasibly possible in our climate, (which has been hard since we got her due to wet weather!)so need help with equipment. At the moment she has a large outdoor, uncovered enclosure with a large sleeping box that is closeable at night (it's a cat freight container for transporting cats) very solid but uninsulated and has air holes in the side. Do I seal the holes up? Or leave? It's also unheated at the moment so need advise on best thing to use? She also has a small cold frame, but no basking bulb yet. (Do I need one Inside as well?) Will she need uv bulb if outside a lot?
So....what do I need to purchase to get her outside for longer, not just on hot days, and what other protection from rain, preditors does she need? Also what sort of thermometer/ humidity measure do i get? Phew! Sorry for all the questions .
 

pippin

Member
Joined
May 17, 2024
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Morning all. Can anyone advice or point me in the right direction of what equipment is best for my 20 year old Eastern herman tortoise? We only got her 2 weeks ago and have set up temporary housing for her but want to get it right before wasting more money on wrong equipment. I realise its subject to personal preference but any help appreciated.As stated in my previous posts we are in the North of the UK (lancashire) and we want to aim to have Shelly out as much as is feasibly possible in our climate, (which has been hard since we got her due to wet weather!)so need help with equipment. At the moment she has a large outdoor, uncovered enclosure with a large sleeping box that is closeable at night (it's a cat freight container for transporting cats) very solid but uninsulated and has air holes in the side. Do I seal the holes up? Or leave? It's also unheated at the moment so need advise on best thing to use? She also has a small cold frame, but no basking bulb yet. (Do I need one Inside as well?) Will she need uv bulb if outside a lot?
So....what do I need to purchase to get her outside for longer, not just on hot days, and what other protection from rain, preditors does she need? Also what sort of thermometer/ humidity measure do i get? Phew! Sorry for all the questions .
I've looked back on my previous posts and realise a lot of these questions have been answered, thank you. I am just unsure what thermometer/ humidity measure I need? And do I need a basking light both inside and out? And do I put the outdoor one in her cold frame if I do? And do I block the airholes in her night box or leave?
I weighed and measured Shelly yesterday again and she has gained weight but she is still on the low side of average I think? She measures 193 mm and she weighs 1255grms.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Hello!
For a thermometer/hygrometer you can look at hardware store nearby. Any simple digital (with a display) should do the job. Those with external probes (on the wire) can be more handy - you can place the display where it more convenient to check.

In the night box you need something which does not give out light (think of a night box more like of a burrow). Common option is a ceramic heat emitter controlled by a thermostat. However without a thermal insulation heaters are far less effective.

You can block the airholes in nightbox - tortoises needs less oxygen than mammals and reduced ventilation will help to retain heat.

If you intend to extend outdoors time for your tortoise as long as possible then a proper insulated night box should be built. Also, some keepers use UV-transparent plastic (such as Lumisol) and build conservatories (green houses) for their tortoises which help to maintain temperatures and provide all benefits of natural sunlight.

Don't worry about Shelly's weight - as she gains it little by a little things are going fine. Average weights are mostly meaningless as growth rate can be vastly different and depends on lots of factors.
 

pippin

Member
Joined
May 17, 2024
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Hello!
For a thermometer/hygrometer you can look at hardware store nearby. Any simple digital (with a display) should do the job. Those with external probes (on the wire) can be more handy - you can place the display where it more convenient to check.

In the night box you need something which does not give out light (think of a night box more like of a burrow). Common option is a ceramic heat emitter controlled by a thermostat. However without a thermal insulation heaters are far less effective.

You can block the airholes in nightbox - tortoises needs less oxygen than mammals and reduced ventilation will help to retain heat.

If you intend to extend outdoors time for your tortoise as long as possible then a proper insulated night box should be built. Also, some keepers use UV-transparent plastic (such as Lumisol) and build conservatories (green houses) for their tortoises which help to maintain temperatures and provide all benefits of natural sunlight.

Don't worry about Shelly's weight - as she gains it little by a little things are going fine. Average weights are mostly meaningless as growth rate can be vastly different and depends on lots of factors.
Thank you. I know I'm over thinking things but I'm just paranoid that I'm getting it wrong. So if I block the air holes and insulate the box and install a heater that should be OK? And if i set up a cold frame using luminsol. do i need a basking light for dull days? (Which are the norm here)Is that the same effect as a greenhouse? Do I also need a basking light indoors for the days when I have to bring her in or post brumination?
 

Tom

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Thank you. I know I'm over thinking things but I'm just paranoid that I'm getting it wrong. So if I block the air holes and insulate the box and install a heater that should be OK? And if i set up a cold frame using luminsol. do i need a basking light for dull days? (Which are the norm here)Is that the same effect as a greenhouse? Do I also need a basking light indoors for the days when I have to bring her in or post brumination?
Please give this thread a read through at least twice. It explains what you need indoors and out. I explain and show pictures of a good way to house them outdoors in a climate like yours and keep them fit and healthy:


And more helpful info here:
 

pippin

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May 17, 2024
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Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Please give this thread a read through at least twice. It explains what you need indoors and out. I explain and show pictures of a good way to house them outdoors in a climate like yours and keep them fit and healthy:


And more helpful info here:
Thank you Tom I have read both of those several times and they have been very helpful. I suppose I was looking for more specific guidance for my particular set up and some guidance as to what types of thermometer/ basking lights / heaters to buy here in the UK. I realise that everyone has their own way of doing things and their own preferences when it comes to products but being a complete novice I don't want to spend money on the wrong products.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Thank you Tom I have read both of those several times and they have been very helpful. I suppose I was looking for more specific guidance for my particular set up and some guidance as to what types of thermometer/ basking lights / heaters to buy here in the UK. I realise that everyone has their own way of doing things and their own preferences when it comes to products but being a complete novice I don't want to spend money on the wrong products.
Copy that. So build your box and you can maintain ambient temperature from over head with a radiant heat panel for reptiles, or one made for chickens will work too. Use a thermostat with either. We aren't trying to keep the box at tropical temperatures for your species, we just don't want days or night to get too cold is all.

Then, for those days when the sun just doesn't want to shine, the heat lamp will do the trick. Arcadia sells incandescent flood lamps in the UK is several wattages.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Thank you. I know I'm over thinking things but I'm just paranoid that I'm getting it wrong. So if I block the air holes and insulate the box and install a heater that should be OK? And if i set up a cold frame using luminsol. do i need a basking light for dull days? (Which are the norm here)Is that the same effect as a greenhouse? Do I also need a basking light indoors for the days when I have to bring her in or post brumination?
Some overcast days won't do any harm - she can retreat to her heated house and stay there. I don't think you need a basking lamp at the moment.

A cold frame covered with Lumisol - is a way to keep temperatures higher and provide natural UVB. Of course if there is a sun in the covered area. You can add artificial UVB source and heating to make it suitable all year round to house a tortoise, however I think it's an overkill for a brumating specie.

This is a guide how such enclosures are built (in UK) and what to expect from them:

You can take a step-by-step approach: this year heated night box and brumation. Next year - climate frame if needed. She might brumate long enough to sleep through all the cold days or vice versa - stay active longer and wake up early. In former case climate frame is not needed and in the latter it would be beneficial (you won't need to keep her weeks or months inside a temporary enclosure).
 

pippin

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Joined
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Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Copy that. So build your box and you can maintain ambient temperature from over head with a radiant heat panel for reptiles, or one made for chickens will work too. Use a thermostat with either. We aren't trying to keep the box at tropical temperatures for your species, we just don't want days or night to get too cold is all.

Then, for those days when the sun just doesn't want to shine, the heat lamp will do the trick. Arcadia sells incandescent flood lamps in the UK is several wattages.
Thank you. That's what I thought. I think she has been previously brumanated so will probably continue to do so come autumn/winter. For now i will insulate and heat her night box then she can stay out more. We have had to bring her in as it's been quite wet and where we put her original encloser was too damp! So we are in the process of moving to a higher/drier part of the garden and ensure she has warm cover during wet weather.
 

pippin

Member
Joined
May 17, 2024
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Copy that. So build your box and you can maintain ambient temperature from over head with a radiant heat panel for reptiles, or one made for chickens will work too. Use a thermostat with either. We aren't trying to keep the box at tropical temperatures for your species, we just don't want days or night to get too cold is all.

Then, for those days when the sun just doesn't want to shine, the heat lamp will do the trick. Arcadia sells incandescent flood lamps in the UK is several wattages.
Thanks @,Tom I can only find Arcadia solar basking flood light, infra red powered? Is this the one you mean?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Thanks @,Tom I can only find Arcadia solar basking flood light, infra red powered? Is this the one you mean?
For a basking lamp you want the regular Arcadia incandescent flood lamp. You don't want an infrared bulb. For maintaining ambient heat, some sort of radiant heat panel will work best.
 

pippin

Member
Joined
May 17, 2024
Messages
34
Location (City and/or State)
Preston uk
Some overcast days won't do any harm - she can retreat to her heated house and stay there. I don't think you need a basking lamp at the moment.

A cold frame covered with Lumisol - is a way to keep temperatures higher and provide natural UVB. Of course if there is a sun in the covered area. You can add artificial UVB source and heating to make it suitable all year round to house a tortoise, however I think it's an overkill for a brumating specie.

This is a guide how such enclosures are built (in UK) and what to expect from them:

You can take a step-by-step approach: this year heated night box and brumation. Next year - climate frame if needed. She might brumate long enough to sleep through all the cold days or vice versa - stay active longer and wake up early. In former case climate frame is not needed and in the latter it would be beneficial (you won't need to keep her weeks or months inside a temporary enclosure).
Wow! That looks fantastic! But whilst we have given her a new 8x8(roughly) outdoor enclosure, I'm afraid we don't have space for such a big set up! So we will just have to adapt. T.Y.
 

Alex and the Redfoot

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Wow! That looks fantastic! But whilst we have given her a new 8x8(roughly) outdoor enclosure, I'm afraid we don't have space for such a big set up! So we will just have to adapt. T.Y.
This setup is to give you an idea (e.g. it doesn't have to be a walk-in greenhouse). You may adapt it to your space or just skip the whole thing and build a moderately small indoors enclosure for pre and post brumation time.
 

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