Heatpad for small torts?

TheLastGreen

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I've read that some people say hatchlings can burn, and don't know how to get off of a heatpad, I've been wondering about it for a while now, do some people use them?
 

jsheffield

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I don't use heatpads... they can get way too hot and dehydrate/burn/kill tortoises.

I do use seedling mats.

The seedling mats top out at 88-90F and I run them through a thermostat, normally set at between 65F and 85F to help hold an enclosure at a baseline temperature.

Despite that differentiation, someone will be by shortly to lecture me on the error of my ways... ;)

Jamie
 

Markw84

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I think the problem is that we really don't know that much about the way tortoises sense temperatures. It certainly is not the way we do!

They do use basking to raise core body temperatures, and when their core body temp is where they feel right, they will move and seek shade. However, we also see they will bake under artificial lights that are too hot and too close and actually burn the tops of their shells before their core body temperature seems to register warm enough.

A friend working extensively with giant tortoises tells of having to be extremely careful burning brush piles cleared on acreage as the tortoise will walk right up to the fire and will burn themselves if not pulled away.

Tortoises use ground temperatures to moderate their temperatures. Not because they can "feel" the temperature of the ground, but they are "programmed" to seek cover and survive in areas of the world where ground temperatures provide the right temperatures to allow escape from overheating and excessive cooling. This "programming" or instinct will cause a tortoise put in a colder climate to seek cover in areas way too cold to allow it to survive, yet stay there contentedly.

So, I believe Jamie has it right, but most people can take that advice wrong. I see value in providing proper "ground temperatures" in our enclosures. The design of the barn for my giant tortoises will definitely include floor heat. But knowing a tortoise will not move from a hide it likes, no matter the temperature, we must be careful to ensure that temperature is an optimal tortoise temperature. Most heat mats get in the 110° range and higher. That will burn a tortoise plastron eventually.

So a good heat mat with a thermostat, and the probe for the thermostat place in contact with the mat, can be an effective way to create an 80° ground temperature base for an enclosure in the hide area. A well designed closed chamber style enclosure does not need that. But when trying to heat a more open or larger area, there is value in providing heat for the substrate. Not to heat the tortoise to optimal core body temperature. But to provide a hide to more closely match the ground temperatures of what it has evolved to live in.
 

maggie3fan

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I don't use heatpads... they can get way too hot and dehydrate/burn/kill tortoises.

I do use seedling mats.

The seedling mats top out at 88-90F and I run them through a thermostat, normally set at between 65F and 85F to help hold an enclosure at a baseline temperature.

Despite that differentiation, someone will be by shortly to lecture me on the error of my ways... ;)

Jamie
It's me...lol
 

maggie3fan

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I think the problem is that we really don't know that much about the way tortoises sense temperatures. It certainly is not the way we do!

They do use basking to raise core body temperatures, and when their core body temp is where they feel right, they will move and seek shade. However, we also see they will bake under artificial lights that are too hot and too close and actually burn the tops of their shells before their core body temperature seems to register warm enough.

A friend working extensively with giant tortoises tells of having to be extremely careful burning brush piles cleared on acreage as the tortoise will walk right up to the fire and will burn themselves if not pulled away.

Tortoises use ground temperatures to moderate their temperatures. Not because they can "feel" the temperature of the ground, but they are "programmed" to seek cover and survive in areas of the world where ground temperatures provide the right temperatures to allow escape from overheating and excessive cooling. This "programming" or instinct will cause a tortoise put in a colder climate to seek cover in areas way too cold to allow it to survive, yet stay there contentedly.

So, I believe Jamie has it right, but most people can take that advice wrong. I see value in providing proper "ground temperatures" in our enclosures. The design of the barn for my giant tortoises will definitely include floor heat. But knowing a tortoise will not move from a hide it likes, no matter the temperature, we must be careful to ensure that temperature is an optimal tortoise temperature. Most heat mats get in the 110° range and higher. That will burn a tortoise plastron eventually.

So a good heat mat with a thermostat, and the probe for the thermostat place in contact with the mat, can be an effective way to create an 80° ground temperature base for an enclosure in the hide area. A well designed closed chamber style enclosure does not need that. But when trying to heat a more open or larger area, there is value in providing heat for the substrate. Not to heat the tortoise to optimal core body temperature. But to provide a hide to more closely match the ground temperatures of what it has evolved to live in.
We all know I am certainly not an expert...but my personal experience is I have used stansfield pig blankets for about 20 years. I use a thermostat with them. I only use them for bigger tortoises, Bob or Mary K for instance...but the 3 Russians living in her shed don't have any night heat and use an incandescent 65 watt bulb for basking.
Each tort is different...Mary, for instance, never basks under a light or a CHE. She sleeps on the mat in a wooden hide...or she steps off and stays in the hide. The Russians spend a great deal of time under the basking light, but not a che...I have always believed that about hatchlings getting burned...however...that has never happened that I know of...I don't use any substrate in the shed...they all live on a plywood floor w/insulation under it. 100 0782
Mary Knobbins likes to bask this way... 100 0769
 

Tom

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I've read that some people say hatchlings can burn, and don't know how to get off of a heatpad, I've been wondering about it for a while now, do some people use them?
Yes, people use them, and yes, my reptile vet friends regularly see burn cases.

As Mark said, indoor floor heat should not be needed in a closed chamber, and that is where the burns happen. "Pig blankets" used in outdoor enclosures in temperate climates can be, on the other hand, a safe and effective way to deliver heat to a large tortoise that needs it.
 

Turtulas-Len

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I use bottom heat on all of my tortoise's. It takes some time using a kill a watt a lamp dimmer and temp gun to get the heat set at the right temperature by adjusting the wattage being used. Once you get it set you shouldn't have make any adjustments. KIMG0680 This is a 2x3 ft Stanfield mat that I bought for the litter of puppies that were born last year. I took a couple of days getting it set to the right temperature. First I let run wide open with nothing on it. Then laid some towels and small blankets on it. Had to adjust the wattage down. Then I put a few bricks under the bedding to get temps under the bricks. And adjusted it again. After a while found that setting the lamp dimmer at 40 watts was nice and safe for the new born puppies. I go through the same process setting up the tortoises enclosures indoor and outdoor. KIMG0681 This is the lamp dimmer I use. It's good to 300 watts. KIMG0675 When I turned it on the get these pics it read 108 watts. Then took some more to show how you can adjust the wattage to set the amount of heat the mat puts out by sliding the slide either up or down. KIMG0677 KIMG0678 I use lamp dimmers with basking lights and CHEs also. Found it's easier to get the correct temperature without having to raise or lower them to the correct height. Just adjust the wattage.
 

tortlvr

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I don't use heatpads... they can get way too hot and dehydrate/burn/kill tortoises.

I do use seedling mats.

The seedling mats top out at 88-90F and I run them through a thermostat, normally set at between 65F and 85F to help hold an enclosure at a baseline temperature.

Despite that differentiation, someone will be by shortly to lecture me on the error of my ways... ;)

Jamie
I use seed mats with my sully hatchlings as well. CHE overhead near the hide and basking area. . I also have one under the water dish which makes them self soak. All are regulated with rheoztates and mini temp gouges.
I also soak manually. Diligent temperature attention compared with heat gun is required. No lecture here!
 
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