LONG BUT NEED HELP! Mediterranean Tortoise...winter in NY?? Thoughts from experts??

rachmodawg

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Hello! I am very inconsistent with my posting, but you are all so helpful when I have a concern, and I couldn't be more grateful.
For background, I have a 1 year old Jordanian Greek named Sgt. Pepper. He is the light of my life, he lives in my living room (forcefully) so my whole family can see him all day. I have been updating his enclosure so he can be the "dopest" tortoise on the block LOL. :cool:

I added whatever pics/videos will upload of his new enclosure that I hand built, including all edible tortoise foliage. There is more to come for him.

My only issue is I live in Western NY and it is damn near freezing here all the time.
*If you want the true, long, dramatic, story, keep reading. If not skip until the bottom of this paragraph.*

~My father is a firemen, has been forever. The thought of heat lamps in our house freaked him out, but since they were secured I told him he had nothing to worry about. I had been living at school caring for him, and came home for a month at Christmas. I had to leave town so I gave my mom distinct instructions on how to set up his lamps. My mom set up his heating lamp incorrectly, go figure, which long story short resulted in it dropping in his wood chips and starting a (low-key) fire. More like smoking hazard. Pepper was fine, everything was fine, just some burned wood chips. Prequel to my family being afraid of my poor innocent tortoise setting fires!"~

The enclosure's lamps are all secure on stands, no risk of falling. The problem is, we are not financially able to heat our house to keep Pepper comfortable. He tends to stick in one spot where it is very warm. My thought is to get him a heating mat to be placed under the wood chips in his enclosure where he sleeps.
Of course the fire concern has arised, and before it get's colder (sometimes -20 below) I want to keep Pepper as happy as the clam he is AND safe.

Do any of you (thank you for making it through this), have any advice on how to keep my baby warn? Is the heating mat for night time a good idea? Or is it a fire hazard?

Thank you ALL for being my support system on raising my little hunny. I can't thank you all enough!! Just want to keep him safe for the next 70 years :):tort::<3:
 

wellington

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I'm not sure I understand. He has his own heat sources, correct? He is in a table, with no top it looks like, correct? If your house gets cold and he is getting cold, it's mainly because all his heat is rising up out of the enclosure. This is what I would do. Cover most of the enclosure. Make like a green house cover over it and be sure the lights and heat is under that cover. If you can get a thermostat to plug the heating into, look up reptile thermostat. This will keep the heating on when needed and turn them off when temp gets to where you set it for. I wouldn't use a heat mat.
 

wellington

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If you post a pic from further back of the enclosure we can give ideas of how too attach a safe cover. A lot of us use plastic. Wherever the plastic might touch a heat source, like the dome of a heat source, I put tin foil between the plastic and heat source and there is no fire hazard. The plastic won't melt. I have even lined holes in hard plastic with tin foil and placed heat sources over the hole and the rim of the heat dome would sit on the tin foil, preventing the plastic from melting.
 

rachmodawg

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I'm not sure I understand. He has his own heat sources, correct? He is in a table, with no top it looks like, correct? If your house gets cold and he is getting cold, it's mainly because all his heat is rising up out of the enclosure. This is what I would do. Cover most of the enclosure. Make like a green house cover over it and be sure the lights and heat is under that cover. If you can get a thermostat to plug the heating into, look up reptile thermostat. This will keep the heating on when needed and turn them off when temp gets to where you set it for. I wouldn't use a heat mat.

This is great thank you! Do you have any advice on the supplies I could use to cover the top, while still being able to get inside when I need to??
 

wellington

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If you can attach wood, then make a frame to drape plastic over. You can also use pvc pipe to make a free standing frame around it and drape the plastic.
 

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