Heating a sulcata enclosure

Carolina Vivariums

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It’s that time of year, the temps are dropping here is SC and my sulcata stays outside all year long. I built a 8’x8’x48” cinder block and wood insulated shelter for him right now even though it’s so small the top half of the shelter sits at 80+ degrees F but the bottom half where he is is 60-65 degrees at the coldest part of the night (35-40 degrees) I have reflective insulation inside the whole thing but what are so tips to help spread that heat to the lower part of the shelter?
 

Maro2Bear

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Just wondering if you have any type of heater in the enclosure, it doesnt sound like it.

  • Id say you could easily add one of those mini oil heaters that @Tom uses in his night boxes, as well as a large Radiant Heat Panel affixed to the ceiling. You can have these connected to an LLReptile thermostat with the sensor down where your Sully sits.
  • Does your enclosure have an insulated bottom? Or does it sit just on the earth/ground?

Good luck.
 

Carolina Vivariums

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Just wondering if you have any type of heater in the enclosure, it doesnt sound like it.

  • Id say you could easily add one of those mini oil heaters that @Tom uses in his night boxes, as well as a large Radiant Heat Panel affixed to the ceiling. You can have these connected to an LLReptile thermostat with the sensor down where your Sully sits.
  • Does your enclosure have an insulated bottom? Or does it sit just on the earth/ground?

Good luck.

I have a forced air heater as well as oil filled heater it’s an ground bottom. So my problem isn’t providing the heat but dispersing it
 

Jacqui

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If you have the heaters, what about a small fan that directs the air downward?
 

Jacqui

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Also what does the ground warm up to during the day? Is it just plain dirt? How big is the sulcata?
 

Relic

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Is it necessary to be 48" in height inside? Lowering the ceiling would reduce the air volume that has to be heated, and bring the warm air resting at ceiling height down to the tortoise level. Two 4 X 8 sheets of plywood might do the trick.
 

Markw84

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I also use a computer (muffin) fan to slowly circulate air in the night box. How well insulated is the structure? The roof portion would really need to be well insulated or you will never overcome the thermal inertia of ground temperatures this time of year where you are. Since you have 48" height, putting an insulated floor in would help tremendously. If the roof/ceiling is then insulated you would be all set! Perhaps a few pictures and we could give more specific suggestions?
 

Yvonne G

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It sounds to me as if your tortoise floor isn't well insulated. Have you tried pig blankets?
 

Tom

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You'll never over come this with the tortoise on open ground. The ground will suck out the heat faster than your heaters can make it. You need to make an insulated floor.

I also agree that making the box 48" tall is not the way to go. You are trying to heat 3' of vertical air that the tortoise will never have any contact with.
 

Carolina Vivariums

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You'll never over come this with the tortoise on open ground. The ground will suck out the heat faster than your heaters can make it. You need to make an insulated floor.

I also agree that making the box 48" tall is not the way to go. You are trying to heat 3' of vertical air that the tortoise will never have any contact with.

Yea its 3ft tall I made it bigger so it was easier to get in and clean and I planned to have more tortoises. I didn’t insulate the floor cause I’m debating on how to do that and be able to clean it easy. it’s less of a night box and more a structure it’s insulated with reflective panels but I’m gonna add more insulation IMG_1188.jpgIMG_1189.jpgIMG_1190.jpg
 

Tom

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I see a few more things in the pics.

  • If you don't cover the cinderblocks with some plywood, it will be very abrasive on their shells. This will do major damage over time.
  • They are likely to climb up the walls too, especially when locked in there on a snowy day, and tear up the insulation. Some of them will then eat it, making a bad problem far worse.
  • You essentially need to make a deck for the bottom. Perhaps 2x4s standing up on edge and sandwiched between plywood with insulation in the middle?
 
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