Heating questions for outside sulcata winter enclosure! Pads, panels, or bulbs?

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Texastravis

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Alrrrrighhhttty as most of yall know, a tortoise keeper's favorite time of the year is upon us.....WINTER :(

I got a pair of sulcatas which will potentially become a trio in the near future that are all three approximately 75 pounds. This past weekend I finally got around to building them an outdoor enclosure. The enclosure is 8'Lx4'Wx2'T double plywood insulated walls, 30" doorway with double carpet flap. I will post pics so yall can see here in a bit.

My question is this, I would really like to keep these guys out ALL winter long. I am in East Texas and even down here we get a handful of below freezing nights. Is this doable and will these guys be smart enough to STAY in there or am I suposed to block the doorway when it freezes? Id like to keep the door open simply because the female likes to decide to lay eggs into December.

What is the best heating source for this application. I see pig blanket proponents say that they can burn the bottom of the tortoise while I also here from ceramic heater proponents that you can burn the tops of tortoises. I like the Stanfield® Heat Pad and/or heat panel idea better simply because of electricity consumption. Also, what size blanket/blankets do I need? Are the tortoises supposed to "lay" on them or will these blankets heat up the entire enclosure.

All recommendations welcome. Money is not in particular a big issue. Want something good quality and RELIABLE.

Thanks.
 

Texastravis

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Pic I took with my cell phone. The roof is a giant hinge door.

photo.JPG
 
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Yvonne G

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Hi Texastravis:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

Is your name Travis?

I have a 100lb male sulcata that I've had since he was 35lbs. He lives in a house similar to your tortoise house, but smaller. It also has a hinged lid, but plastic strips over the doorway. Every night I put a piece of plywood over his doorway and block it closed with a cinderblock, and every morning I take the plywood away. Dudley goes out and grazes even on the coldest days, even with frost on the ground. When he gets cold, or when he's through eating, he goes back into his house. Once you teach them to stay in the house at night, they're smart enough to go in when they get cold.

I have Stansfield heat mats with the F911 controller. I also have two light fixtures hanging from the ceiling...one for a black bulb for night time and the other for a regular 100 watt incandescent bulb for days when the sun doesn't shine.

I've heard some people say that they hang the pig blankets on a wall instead of laying them on the floor. I like it on the floor. I have many different kinds of tortoises who use a pig blanket and have never, in the past 30 years, had a problem with them.
 

Texastravis

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Ha that pic blows, let me try this again through photobucket

photo-1.jpg
 

dmarcus

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Hello and welcome to the forum..

I think you should go with a pig blanket or something similar, below is a link to a thread and the last post has 2 links that maybe useful to you. I think lights might be a issue with the hight of there house depending on the size of the bulb and housing being used.

http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread-It-s-getting-cold-outside?pid=333816#pid333816

I do like the look of there house, a job well done...
 

Texastravis

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Hi Texastravis:

Welcome to the Tortoise Forum!!

Is your name Travis?

I have a 100lb male sulcata that I've had since he was 35lbs. He lives in a house similar to your tortoise house, but smaller. It also has a hinged lid, but plastic strips over the doorway. Every night I put a piece of plywood over his doorway and block it closed with a cinderblock, and every morning I take the plywood away. Dudley goes out and grazes even on the coldest days, even with frost on the ground. When he gets cold, or when he's through eating, he goes back into his house. Once you teach them to stay in the house at night, they're smart enough to go in when they get cold.

I have Stansfield heat mats with the F911 controller. I also have two light fixtures hanging from the ceiling...one for a black bulb for night time and the other for a regular 100 watt incandescent bulb for days when the sun doesn't shine.

I've heard some people say that they hang the pig blankets on a wall instead of laying them on the floor. I like it on the floor. I have many different kinds of tortoises who use a pig blanket and have never, in the past 30 years, had a problem with them.

Read more: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/Thread...-enclosure-Pads-panels-or-bulbs#ixzz1bjWPgsMg


Cool. Any reason to have those bulbs though? I was hoping to get away with using just mats. Will one good size map keep it 80 degrees on a freezing day? As for daytime temps I hear the tort will still go outside when its really cold, collect some sun, then go back into the heated enclosure.
 

Texastravis

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Oh and yes my name is Travis. And this is my nephew Logan trying to ride Crunch

320249_10150326290095448_594460447_8474116_1225934948_n.jpg
 

Tony the tank

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Nice tort house...there are quite a few ways to heat the enclosure all you mentioned are great..But not sure a heat mat would be enough to keep it at 80f when it's freezing out..

I would think a redundant heating setup would be very important...on different circuits if possible... Just incase one heating fixture fails the other ones keep the temp from dropping to the point of killing your tort..

I have an indoor enclosure in my basement..and I use two 1800watt oil filled radiator set on low(just incase one fails) on different dedicated circuits...

And funny thing is..the first one stopped working a week after I brought it..didn't notice it untill I went to move it and felt it cold...
 

jackrat

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I like the thermostatically controlled oil filled radiator.
 

CtTortoiseMom

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Hi, first of all that is a great looking Sulcata! 2nd, Welcome:). 3rd, I have an outside house for my tortoise very similar (maybe not as nice) as yours for my 36 pound Sulcata. I used a Kane Heat mat and a CHE to heat it. The only difference is my house was not insulated. Sadly, my weather is too cold and my tort is now inside for the winter. My suggestion would be to start off with a heat mat and put a temp guage in your tortoises house and add a CHE or two or nothing depending on your night time readings. Best of luck!
 

Texastravis

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Thanks for the suggestions. I think I am going to get a large heat pad and see how well it works. If I have it on a temp controller could it potentially heat the pad up as hot as it will go to try and raise the temp in the room? If it can, is this a potential for damaging/hurting the tortoise? I see that Stanfield also sells a controller for their pads but man $300+ is high lol. Is there another controller around that is cheaper and works as well? I have a controller that will kick on heat elements when the temp gets down but I think these expensive controllers variate the electricity input which I am sure is better.

I have never used a temp gun. Good cheap one around? Will this give me a reading of how hot the pad is getting?

As for the oil filled radiater heaters. I think my house is too small to have one of those but they do look cool. I will probably use some of those down the road and see how they compare to the pads.
 

Tony the tank

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Sorry ..Travis I missed the part were you said you live in Texas..I'm from the northeast...and we get some serious cold days here...(were getting snow this week..so they say)... You can buy temp guns at hobby shops, some auto part stores, eBay and I believe home depot..


Also big apple sells a nice unit..I used a unit to control the temp on a 10x4 rather lg snake rack..and it worked flawlessly for yrs. (Keeping temps within 1 or 2 degrees.). and I believe it was reasonably priced..only issue would be that the sensor would have to be secured to the mat some how..I expoxyed the sensor to the heat tape..

Also bare in mind some of the cheaper controllers are just dimmer switches..that just control the constant voltage.... In other words it won't ramp up by itself if it's gets colder..


Good luck..
 

DolanKoops

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Buy a couple of reptile radiators they screw to the top of the habitat really effective and give out alot of heat!
 

dmarcus

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The heat gun is worth it, the temp gauge tells me what the ambient temp is but the heat gun tells me what the ground temp is...
 
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