how cold is too cold?

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lovelyrosepetal

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Hi, with the onset of fall coming and cooler days ahead, I was wondering how cold is too cold for a hatchling sulcata tortoise? I am sure someone has posted this somewhere but I can't find the information. My hatchlings are going on three months and I am pretty sure that 60 Fahrenheit is too cold but how cold does it have to get before I better bring them in? I took them out when it was 76 Fahrenheit but I haven't taken them out since because I am scared I might make them sick or, worse, kill them. Does anyone know? Thanks for your help.:)
 

Tom

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This is where your temp gun comes in. I will sun mine on cool winter days in the low 60's, BUT I use big black tubs. The surface temp gets into the 80 or 90's and I watch it very closely. On a sunny day with not too much wind, in an enclosure with relatively tall sides, you can get away with more. By contrast damp vegetation on an 80 degree day can be in the 50's after a cold night. So be careful at any time of year. Everyone's enclosures are different. There are many factors to consider in this. Ambient air temp is just one of them.
 

lovelyrosepetal

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Thanks Tom. I will make sure that I get a temp gun. I have mine in a critter pen that has bars that are too small for them to get out of but allow lots of air to circulate. I might have to get a tub or something else. The critter pen allows them to graze freely and allows me to be able to move it easily. I part of it shaded off and move it as necessary. I wonder if it got below 80 in the pen if that would be too cool?
 

Tom

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They can use the sun to get significantly warmer than the surrounding area, the ground or the air. It just has to be a sunny day with no wind. In the winter time I use tubs for sunning that would fry them in the summer. Their summer pens are often much too cool damp and shady to use in the winter. This is why there is no set answer for this. Every pen and every situation is different.

One general rule that I like to use is the "T shirt rule". If its warm enough for me to walk around in a T shirt and shorts, then its warm enough for them to be outside sunning. This is very subjective though, so do use that temp gun. Another thing you can do is set a rock in the sun in your sunning enclosure for an hour or two at various outside temps and see what your temp gun will tell you about that. I often get carapace temps in the 90's when ambient temps are in the low 60's. The sun is a truly marvelous big ball of gases and fire. :)

Also, it should be noted that most people in the warmer states just let adults live outside 24/7 with heated shelters of some sort. I know we are talking about babies here, and using appropriate caution with them, but sulcatas can tolerate a pretty wide range of temps.
 

JayMillz

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I checked mine out 2 days ago with the temp gun when they were sun bathing. The weather app on my phone said it was 76 degrees outside and they were relaxing on the cement by the back door with no wind and NewGuys shell was About 96 degrees and Shelly's was fluxing from 101 to 105.
 

Laurie

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I tried to get my guys out today, it hit 75 f here, so I was excited and went on out with my temp gun, babies cages were 64 and 63, Brains was 60f with all those weeds!! So it was a no go for us :(
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I wouldn't have them outside if it's less than 75 degrees. But everybody is different. I always figure it's better safe then sorry...
 

lovelyrosepetal

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Thanks, maggie3fan. I agree, better safe than sorry.
Thanks, Laurie, so it looks like 75F is the way to go.
JayMillz it looks like the temp gun is definitely the way to go. :)
 
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