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Moving tortoise outside, still nervous about her returning to her heated house when cold

CleoTheLeo

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May 23, 2015
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131
i'll be moving my leopard tortoise outside soon in mid march, shes about 10 inches long, 7 inches wide, the temperatures will still be pretty cold 40-55, possibly lower. I was planning on making a heated house/box (4x4) and putting it inside a greenhouse (at least 9x5). On cold days I would open her box (she could go in and out like a dog door) but keep the greenhouse closed and on warmer days I would open the heated house and greenhouse so that she could roam the rest of the area. Im just nervous that on cooler days she wont go back into her heated house when she starts to get cold. And sometimes we get weather that changes really fast and I dont want her to be caught outside of her heated house and greenhouse if that happens. Also, do ya'll think the greenhouse is necessary, I want to use it to allow her to have a larger area to roam on colder days but I know alot of people just have a heated house out in the open and let their tortoise go in and out as they please. I live in NC btw. But on really cold days do you keep the heated house closed all day, I just dont think she would go back into her house and that would worry me all day until I got home from work. I appreciate any help and thoughts.
 

DJ Kirk

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Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Yes be worried
When I started years ago - many times I went running out to the yard at night to put my first tort (leopard) into his hide.
Nothing like wandering around the cold backyard in boxers to find a tort!
 

Sa Ga

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When Morla gets cold, she kind of huddles into herself and doesn't move. I know at a point then that torts (as other cold-bloodeds) get cold enough where they no longer can move.
 

ZEROPILOT

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My tortoises live outside 24/7 year round.
You'll have to check yourself that the animal(s) are inside the heated houses when the temperature drops.
They don't always do what they need to do.
 

wellington

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You actually should make sure they are in every night and locked in.
I check my leopards every night in the summer to make sure they are inside. Then I shut and lock the doors. No thieves of four or two legged will get to them. Most people do lock them up at night.
 

ZEROPILOT

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You actually should make sure they are in every night and locked in.
I check my leopards every night in the summer to make sure they are inside. Then I shut and lock the doors. No thieves of four or two legged will get to them. Most people do lock them up at night.
I place a cinder block in front of the door flap.
 

CleoTheLeo

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May 23, 2015
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131
Yes be worried
When I started years ago - many times I went running out to the yard at night to put my first tort (leopard) into his hide.
Nothing like wandering around the cold backyard in boxers to find a tort!
lol, I’ll definitely be making sure she’s locked up safe for the night! Did yours every start doing it on its own? And how is yours houses in the winter?
 
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CleoTheLeo

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May 23, 2015
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When Morla gets cold, she kind of huddles into herself and doesn't move. I know at a point then that torts (as other cold-bloodeds) get cold enough where they no longer can move.
Yeah, I’ve noticed that too. I hope a greenhouse will help her get out more though. Thanks for your reply!
 

CleoTheLeo

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May 23, 2015
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131
My tortoises live outside 24/7 year round.
You'll have to check yourself that the animal(s) are inside the heated houses when the temperature drops.
They don't always do what they need to do.
I’ll definitely make sure to lock her up at night. But what I’m wondering is if on colder days is it likely for them to go out of their heated house to graze and then come back in? I know some people have said their tortoises do it, but that’s what I’d be worried about during the winter. How are yours houses in the winter, on days above 40, do you let them go in and out as they please or are they in a locked heated house for the day?
 
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CleoTheLeo

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May 23, 2015
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131
You actually should make sure they are in every night and locked in.
I check my leopards every night in the summer to make sure they are inside. Then I shut and lock the doors. No thieves of four or two legged will get to them. Most people do lock them up at night.
yes, I’ll definitely make sure she’s locked up around night no matter the temperature. But whatI was really wondering about is how people let their tortoises roam out of their heated house in the winter. Ive read some posts that have said that they’ll come out and graze and go back when they get cold. But for those people who have a heated house with a “doggie door” type situation, I was wondering if they lock it up all the time or still let the tortoise choose what to do all day even when they’re not home.
 

CleoTheLeo

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131
i'll be moving my leopard tortoise outside soon in mid march, shes about 10 inches long, 7 inches wide, the temperatures will still be pretty cold 40-55, possibly lower. I was planning on making a heated house/box (4x4) and putting it inside a greenhouse (at least 9x5). On cold days I would open her box (she could go in and out like a dog door) but keep the greenhouse closed and on warmer days I would open the heated house and greenhouse so that she could roam the rest of the area. Im just nervous that on cooler days she wont go back into her heated house when she starts to get cold. And sometimes we get weather that changes really fast and I dont want her to be caught outside of her heated house and greenhouse if that happens. Also, do ya'll think the greenhouse is necessary, I want to use it to allow her to have a larger area to roam on colder days but I know alot of people just have a heated house out in the open and let their tortoise go in and out as they please. I live in NC btw. But on really cold days do you keep the heated house closed all day, I just dont think she would go back into her house and that would worry me all day until I got home from work. I appreciate any help and thoughts.
I’m specifically wondering what people do during the day in winter, when it’s 50-40. Do y’all keep the doggie door to the heated house open and allow them to roam or do you lock it up all day?
 

CleoTheLeo

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When Morla gets cold, she kind of huddles into herself and doesn't move. I know at a point then that torts (as other cold-bloodeds) get cold enough where they no longer can move.
How is Morla housed in the winter?
 

wellington

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yes, I’ll definitely make sure she’s locked up around night no matter the temperature. But whatI was really wondering about is how people let their tortoises roam out of their heated house in the winter. Ive read some posts that have said that they’ll come out and graze and go back when they get cold. But for those people who have a heated house with a “doggie door” type situation, I was wondering if they lock it up all the time or still let the tortoise choose what to do all day even when they’re not home.
I would not let a leopard roam in the cold northern snow states. Those are mostly large sulcatas that are allowed out in the cold areas. Most likely they let them out and are either home to keep an eye on them or they just have always gone in.
I live in Chicago, cold and snow. My leopards do not get outside in winter. I have one leopard that in the spring or fall when we still have cold night, he wants to bunker down outside in the cold. He has always liked the cold for some reason. I find him every night before dark and make him go in. The other one goes in on his own.
Member Elohi lives in Texas and brings her leopards into her house when it's going to be too cold.
 

CleoTheLeo

Active Member
Joined
May 23, 2015
Messages
131
i'll be moving my leopard tortoise outside soon in mid march, shes about 10 inches long, 7 inches wide, the temperatures will still be pretty cold 40-55, possibly lower. I was planning on making a heated house/box (4x4) and putting it inside a greenhouse (at least 9x5). On cold days I would open her box (she could go in and out like a dog door) but keep the greenhouse closed and on warmer days I would open the heated house and greenhouse so that she could roam the rest of the area. Im just nervous that on cooler days she wont go back into her heated house when she starts to get cold. And sometimes we get weather that changes really fast and I dont want her to be caught outside of her heated house and greenhouse if that happens. Also, do ya'll think the greenhouse is necessary, I want to use it to allow her to have a larger area to roam on colder days but I know alot of people just have a heated house out in the open and let their tortoise go in and out as they please. I live in NC btw. But on really cold days do you keep the heated house closed all day, I just dont think she would go back into her house and that would worry me all day until I got home from work. I appreciate any help and thoughts.
I would not let a leopard roam in the cold northern snow states. Those are mostly large sulcatas that are allowed out in the cold areas. Most likely they let them out and are either home to keep an eye on them or they just have always gone in.
I live in Chicago, cold and snow. My leopards do not get outside in winter. I have one leopard that in the spring or fall when we still have cold night, he wants to bunker down outside in the cold. He has always liked the cold for some reason. I find him every night before dark and make him go in. The other one goes in on his own.
Member Elohi lives in Texas and brings her leopards into her house when it's going to be too cold.
Thank you for your help! How are yours housed, in an indoor enclosure or heated house outside?
 

wellington

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Thank you for your help! How are yours housed, in an indoor enclosure or heated house outside?
Mine have a heated shed that is the third stall of my garage. I had a new 3 stall garage built. I had a wall built between the 2 car side and the 3rd stall. Its insulated and heated with an oil filled portable radiator heater. They also have their basking lights for the day time. They have a ramp too the outside I open for the warm days/summer.
 

CleoTheLeo

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Mine have a heated shed that is the third stall of my garage. I had a new 3 stall garage built. I had a wall built between the 2 car side and the 3rd stall. Its insulated and heated with an oil filled portable radiator heater. They also have their basking lights for the day time. They have a ramp too the outside I open for the warm days/summer.
That sounds awesome! Hopefully in a few years I'll be able to do something like that! Thanks again for your help!
 

Tom

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I’m specifically wondering what people do during the day in winter, when it’s 50-40. Do y’all keep the doggie door to the heated house open and allow them to roam or do you lock it up all day?
You should not move the tortoise outside full time until later in spring when the days are consistently warmer.

You are correct to be worried, and many of them will not go back into the heated box, especially so when they first move outside. This is why you make the move when its warm and getting warmer. Over the course of the summer, she'll get into the habit of going back into the box more of the time, if not all of the time, and you won't have a sick tortoise on your hands.

They cannot be locked up in a dark 4x4 box all day for days or weeks on end due to cold weather. You're going to need a better plan to deal with your tortoise in your cold winters.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I’ll definitely make sure to lock her up at night. But what I’m wondering is if on colder days is it likely for them to go out of their heated house to graze and then come back in? I know some people have said their tortoises do it, but that’s what I’d be worried about during the winter. How are yours houses in the winter, on days above 40, do you let them go in and out as they please or are they in a locked heated house for the day?
When it's in the 50s my Redfoot neither leave their houses or attempt to eat for 24 to 48 hours.
 

jso

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Unlike some other tortoises, leopards seem not learn to seek the shelter and the heat of their housing. Mine pretty much parks up as soon as the sun goes in and/or temps drop.
 

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