Help With Converting Bedroom to Tortoises Enclosure

Reggie

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You are talking my language! I totally am about aesthetics for Reggie's room. Since this was once an office, we aren't starting from scratch and leaving some of those elements in place. The walls are wallpapered and the room has a matching curtain. There's no reason to remove them. We'll surround the edges with stained wood to protect the existing woodwork. I'll have to work it out but I have some art I'm not using the can be purposed there. I'm sure Reggie doesn't care but I do. In Reggie's current enclosure, I've attached artificial plants to the sides. He likes to lay under them and doesn't try to eat them. We've had space to have ficus trees and palms in his room but I won't be able to use them in the new set up since it will be wall to wall enclosure. I may experiment to position one in a corner.

My husband installed a room fan with a light set to keep the heat of the room low to the floor where Reggie will be and to also provide overall lighting. I don't want to hang lights from the ceiling so we are trying a frame work to hang lights and UVB.

I really like your idea about the substrate but I have no idea how to approach that, especially since it is an upstairs room. That is something we can learn more about for a future improvement as we gather more information. For now, we've decided to use Reptibark on top of layers of underlayment, pond liner, and vinyl flooring. We do have some limestone stepping stones so that we can walk in the room. We have a few rocks to position so it interrupts his line of sight to make it more interesting. I read that idea on the Forum recently.

We've run into a snag finding the radiant heat panel for his hide so we might be delayed completing it.

It sounds like Levi is an active guy and gives you plenty of challenges :) His enclosure sounds beautiful! How old is he?

Thank you for your great ideas. I promise to post pictures of the new room.
 

Levi the Leopard

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We've had space to have ficus trees and palms in his room but I won't be able to use them in the new set up since it will be wall to wall enclosure. I may experiment to position one in a corner.
I could see trees in decorative planters being used in a wall to wall enclosure. No reason it can't work like having a potted tree anywhere else :)

I don't want to hang lights from the ceiling so we are trying a frame work to hang lights and UVB.
Do you have Instagram? Look up Ethel The Glamour Tort. Although she does some things very differently than I would, she does have a nice DIY wall with hanging heat lamps for her sulcata. It's very pretty and would give you something to glean from.

We have a few rocks to position so it interrupts his line of sight to make it more interesting. I read that idea on the Forum recently.
See, the planted plants would work in this same fashion :)
It sounds like Levi is an active guy and gives you plenty of challenges :)
Understatement of the year! haha

I prepared a spring mix salad topped with mazuri for him yesterday but he would not take it from me. He kept pushing through the food plate to ram my hips and legs (I was sitting on the grass while trying to offer the meal). Finally I gave up, left the plate on the ground and jumped up onto a stump bench. Once he realized I was out of reach, he ate the food. 3x I tried to come down and each time he'd stop eating to chase me. I ended up staying on the stump until he was finished.... :rolleyes:
How old is he?
He is 10 years old and lives outside full time. He has the backyard all to himself and an insulated tortoise house (just like the one Tom builds) heated with an oil filled radiator on a thermostat.
Thank you for your great ideas. I promise to post pictures of the new room.
Can't wait to see it!
 

Levi the Leopard

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Found a link for you: (screen shot captured from the link provided)

Again, my only point in sharing this here is so you can get an idea for a decorative basking wall. This shows that you can find a way to hang lights and still keep things aesthetically pleasing.
Capture.JPG
 

Reggie

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I REALLY appreciate your ideas about setting up the room attractively and for going the extra mile to find Ethel on Instagram. I have seen Ethel and marveled at that arrangement. I have seen that light arrangement, too, but forgot about it. Thank you for sharing it. My husband thinks he can do it.

We have made alot of progress with Reggie's room. The flooring is down, the hide is built, and we are waiting for the radiant heat panel and thermostat to arrive for it.

Our most recent question is how to place the oil filled radiator in the room. How near to the wall is ok to set it up?

I loved the cute story about Levi pushing you while you fed him. Reggie likes to do the same, usually to my husband.
I would love to have a big yard for him to roam in. Levi is very fortunate.

I hope to get answers to our final questions and post pictures soon!
 

Levi the Leopard

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Our most recent question is how to place the oil filled radiator in the room. How near to the wall is ok to set it up?
My oil filled radiator is only a few inches away from the walls inside Levi's tortoise house. Even a quick google search yields the same recommendations.

Glad to hear you are getting closer to finishing! :)
 

Reggie

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On Sunday we introduced Reggie to his new room. I do think he he is impressed 😃 As Wellington suggested, we set it up so the daytime oil radiator heater turns off at night and the VE radiant panel comes on in his hide. Both are on timers. The only problem is Reggie is choosing to sleep in the corner of the room instead of the hide. The hide is a little large for him because we anticipated growth. We left the heat in the room on alll night last night instead of turning it off because the room temp goes down to 73 and the heater warms to 80-82. Does anyone have suggestions about how to entice him to his hide. If he won’t use it, is it safe to run the radiator heater all day and all night? Any other suggestions? I will post pictures tonight
 

Yvonne G

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You have to place him in there every night and block the doorway so he can't get out until you let him out in the morning. Some tortoises only take two or three times, others take longer.
 

Levi the Leopard

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It's true. If you pick him up and move him into the spot every night, one night you'll go to get him and tah-dah! he'll be in the hide on his own. Never took Levi too long to figure out how to put himself away. I still check nightly cuz sometimes he forgets...but it's not the norm.
 

Cathie G

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Hello.🤗 The oil filled heaters are so safe and so cheap to operate. I never worry about mine. It won't burn an animal and many of my cats and other animals 🤣 love to curl up around one. I can put mine on a low setting even in the winter and it keeps my tortoises room warm even in an Ohio winter. It is an electric device though so that has to be watched. In other words the wire that plugs them in and the control. The newer digital ones I don't like. The ones with the simple 2 button and dial in heat control are cheaper and last forever. I've been using Sapphire's since I got him in 2007. It's still working like a little work horse.🙂
 

Reggie

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Thank you so much for all your help. Here are pictures of the room and our handsome guy. It’s not complete but almost. I think Reggie likes it.
 

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Levi the Leopard

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Thank you so much for all your help. Here are pictures of the room and our handsome guy. It’s not complete but almost. I think Reggie likes it.
I am incredibly proud of you! ...maybe that doesn't mean much from a random lady on the internet LOL but it's true!

You are a fantastic tortoise keeper and your leopard is lucky to have you.

The best part is, this is just the beginning and it already looks great. In my experience, the enclosures look better over time as you tweak things and decorate more. You already have it looking great. I can't wait to see it a year from now!

Way to go Reggie's slaves! hahaha
 

LJL1982

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My husband and I are looking for help with making our spare bedroom into an enclosure for our 6 year old leopard tortoise. I've learned so much from all the kind people on the forum and respect you all very much. We adopted Reggie 2 years ago when our grandson lost interest in him. We had begun caring for him a few years prior for vacations and - just like that - the little guy wiggled into our hearts. Conditions are less than ideal but we have done our best to give Reggie a good life. He is very social with us and seems happy. Our house is in a subdivision in Northern Indiana with a rather small yard so an outdoor enclosure isn't possible. When temps are 80 degrees or above we take Reggie outside, which is mid-May through maybe September. Winters here are very cold.

The bedroom we would like to convert to Reggie's room is 10 x 10 and is on the second floor of our house. We are hoping to get some insight from the group here to make the best decisions. His enclosure is in that same room now. We would be tripling Reggie's space if the whole room was his enclosure. We keep his enclosure at 80- 85 degrees with 5 thermostatically controlled CHE bulbs and a flood bulb for basking. Is there another way to safely elevate the heat in the room? The CHE's increase our electric bill significantly! I hope not to triple the CHE's if there's another way. For flooring, I've seen the threads here about using Flex Seal. Would this work if we used plywood flooring? Is there another flooring that would work better? I also saw a thread about using horse stall mats but wonder how we would make the seams between the mats waterproof. Does it make any sense to construct a greenhouse of lucite or acrylic inside the room to better control the environment? It seems like the room would be its own environment but we're looking for information from those with more experience and know-how.

Thank you for your help!
My only feedback as I have tortoises in my spare room would be:

Topping my enclosures with acrylic significantly enhanced my ability to up the temperature and humidity in them.

When I open the door I can really feel the "cold" from the rest of the house which is 22 degrees. The cat lies against the tortoise room door so I am considering a draft excluder to not lose heat under the door. Not much I can do about losing a bit of heat when I open the door to go in really (obviously I close it behind me).

A significant amount of heat is lost through the window at night. Thick curtains, thermoregulating blinds or a thermoregulating sheet may help this but needs to be removable in the day if the room will benefit from heating by the sun.

Please share pics when you are done so we can all benefit from your ideas!
 

zolasmum

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You are truly a dedicated person. GOOD JOB!!
That looks wonderful ! I particularly like the bookshelves / hide arrangement, which must be very convenient for giving him a bed-time story.
And the way you have blocked off the door is such a good idea.
Angie
 

Cathie G

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Thank you so much for all your help. Here are pictures of the room and our handsome guy. It’s not complete but almost. I think Reggie likes it.
The enclosure is really wonderful 👍. I wish I could do one on the floor but since our floors are cold I can't. I know for sure my little Russian can feel the change in temperature and seasons through the floors. Reggie is adorable just running around checking it out and feels like s/he found paradise. Reggie will show you what ever tweeks need done.🤗
 

Reggie

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The enclosure is really wonderful 👍. I wish I could do one on the floor but since our floors are cold I can't. I know for sure my little Russian can feel the change in temperature and seasons through the floors. Reggie is adorable just running around checking it out and feels like s/he found paradise. Reggie will show you what ever tweeks need done.🤗
Thank you! The radiant heat in our house does help with floor heat. We are so happy to give him more space. He is pretty adorable :)
 

Reggie

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That looks wonderful ! I particularly like the bookshelves / hide arrangement, which must be very convenient for giving him a bed-time story.
And the way you have blocked off the door is such a good idea.
Angie
The closet lent really well for the bed time stories and hide. My husband is very talented!
 

Reggie

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My only feedback as I have tortoises in my spare room would be:

Topping my enclosures with acrylic significantly enhanced my ability to up the temperature and humidity in them.

When I open the door I can really feel the "cold" from the rest of the house which is 22 degrees. The cat lies against the tortoise room door so I am considering a draft excluder to not lose heat under the door. Not much I can do about losing a bit of heat when I open the door to go in really (obviously I close it behind me).

A significant amount of heat is lost through the window at night. Thick curtains, thermoregulating blinds or a thermoregulating sheet may help this but needs to be removable in the day if the room will benefit from heating by the sun.

Please share pics when you are done so we can all benefit from your ideas!
Those are really good ideas, especially as it gets colder.
 
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