My Best Night Box Design Yet

OCTortoiseGuy

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Tom - How humid does the open containers on the shelf make the box? How often are you having to file them with water? I think I will be adding a shelf to my tort house to hold water has soon as I get the time. Thank you Tom for the great build thread.
 

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OCTortoiseGuy said:
Tom - How humid does the open containers on the shelf make the box? How often are you having to file them with water? I think I will be adding a shelf to my tort house to hold water has soon as I get the time. Thank you Tom for the great build thread.

Those water tubs only get humidity up to around 40-50%. Maybe they will be able to do more in winter when its not so hot and dry.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Do you think it would help the humidity to use a small aquarium air pump with an air stone in the water? I've done that to both introduce fresh air and humidity into incubators. In that situation I was able to get 85% humidity while I lived in Fresno, similar in heat to your summer. The air would not be som much help with your box, but the humidity might go up substantially with an air stone?

Will
 

Tom

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Will said:
Do you think it would help the humidity to use a small aquarium air pump with an air stone in the water? I've done that to both introduce fresh air and humidity into incubators. In that situation I was able to get 85% humidity while I lived in Fresno, similar in heat to your summer. The air would not be som much help with your box, but the humidity might go up substantially with an air stone?

That is a great suggestion. The only question is: Do I really WANT to raise humidity up much higher in this sort of box in the great outdoors. If ever the power failed on a cold winter night, it could be an issue. The wetter it is the more of an issue. I'm okay with only moderate humidity for the bigger sized tortoises that use the large boxes. In time that may change, but I think its okay for now.

What do you think Will? Should I be shooting for higher humidity in there?
 

Kapidolo Farms

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Tom wrote "What do you think Will? Should I be shooting for higher humidity in there?"

I had not thought about power failure. The ideal, I think would be to match what your underground shelters have for there temps and RH. But those are for sulcata only? I think if you had a temp drop and high humidity, that water would condense on the interior, and so the RH would come down too. The question then is would that be too damp with a non-earth floor, like wood, that won't soak it up as much as soil would.

Do any of your leopards use any sort of below ground shelter similar to your sulcata? I think I recall the sulcata shelter had an earth floor, so then that would be the push of consideration in potential rapid changes in shelter microclimate.

All the 'at rest" leopards I have seen in captivity or the wild have their face into shrubbery, or are totally in tall grass. With evapotransportation of plants it would be like sleeping with your face into the pillow, real moist. When temps drop from real hot to cool, plants transpire more, but when cold, they shut that down. I don't know the stats on the temps and RH for this range of things where the wild leopards go.

Tom wrote "Those water tubs only get humidity up to around 40-50%. Maybe they will be able to do more in winter when its not so hot and dry."

So maybe this would only be a good practice when it is hot, and the heater is not activated, during those summer hot times. I guess where you live the night time temps might drop hard alot? If your night time stays above what you consider a safety temp, then it would be fine. On a timer for the morning hours on days that will hit 85F plus?

These are fussy ideas, with low potential values, but may be worth considering.

Will
 

ashleym

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At first I was wondering what the "water shelves" were for, and then once I saw you had little plastic containers with water in it that made sense! I don't know why I didn't think about this. We are currently building a big enclosure right now and should definitely incorporate that in there.
 

Masin

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Wow! How amazing is that! Beautiful work. I'm a carpenter newb, I can only dream of making something a fraction as decent one day! Haha.
 

Tom

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Will said:
Do any of your leopards use any sort of below ground shelter similar to your sulcata? I think I recall the sulcata shelter had an earth floor, so then that would be the push of consideration in potential rapid changes in shelter microclimate.


The underground sulcata shelter started out with a dirt floor, but then Daisy started trying to take the direct route for some authentic Chinese food. I retrofitted a plywood floor into the bottom with much effort, consternation, and cussing. I intentionally left large gaps between the four retrofitted floor pieces, to allow for some "Earthiness" to take place in the box. It actually works very well. With just a simple bucket of water down there, the humidity hovers around 70-80%, all year long with electric heat in winter and no heat at all in summer. I find this to be an ideal way to house sulcatas. I have never seen anything anything I like better. I'm currently mentally designing something similar, but on a smaller scale and with no heat, for Russians. I think it would be ideal for DTs too.

I have never tried this with leopards on the ASSumption that it might be too "unnatural" since they are really not a burrowing species. Maybe I should give it a try and see what they do. Maybe they would take to it just fine. After all, an above ground, insulated wooden box with an oil heater isn't the least bit "natural" either. :)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts Will.
 

Kapidolo Farms

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It is my understanding from the 'scientific and popular literature' that even though leopards don't dig their own burrows they readily use ones they find dug by other animals. That big one from RSA in Addo is supposed to have died, by going into a burrow which subsequently collapsed. So maybe the burrow for them is more like squatter housing, they take it when they can get it. I think your night-house approximates that aspect of what wild leopards do.

Pancakes do the same thing, use "found" burrows. Most tents do, as well as a huge variety of other tortoises. Will
 

manetteaplin

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Tom thanks for your wonderful box ideas, I just sent it to my dad to have him make me one! I do have a couple questions for everyone about winter idea for next year (I think I can get this winter out of my current set up) so next year my sully will be almost 3, I live in southern oregon so, hot summers (13 days over 100) :) hot for us anyway. My question is, he will have a 35'x35' outside pen for the summer, but for the colder months how big of outside home will he need, and will he be big enough to go in and out on cold days on his own or will he need to be locked in all winter? (He is currently about 6")
 

Tom

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PM KenS or Maggie3fan. They both live up closer to your neck of the woods, have sulcatas, and will be better able to advise you of the particulars. I don't have any experience housing tortoises in that sort of climate. Does it snow where you are? Whats the average temp range during winter up there?
 

manetteaplin

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Thanks Tom! We rarely get snow but average high is 54 and average low is 34. I will send them a message and see what their advice would be!
 

Tom

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manetteaplin said:
Thanks Tom! We rarely get snow but average high is 54 and average low is 34. I will send them a message and see what their advice would be!

Sorry. I just know its colder up there and I don't want to tell you the wrong thing. Both of those guys are really nice and will be glad to help. Both are friends. We have other members up that way too, so don't hesitate to PM anyone else either, I just know those two personally.
 

TFCO

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Hi Tom where did you buy that oil heater I'd like to get one for my enclosure I'm building instead of using the CHE.

Thanks
 

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TFCO said:
Hi Tom where did you buy that oil heater I'd like to get one for my enclosure I'm building instead of using the CHE.

Thanks

I got one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was on clearance since it was summer. :) I ordered two from Walmart.com. Just do an internet search for "mini oil heater", and lots of them will come up.
 

Sulcata_Sandy

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I've used one before, but how do they compare to electric heat as far as energy efficiency? I'm considering one for my bedroom for overnight. My 1970 house has CEILING HEAT!!!
Very stupid design, epically in NW Oregon!

BTW, me, two Basenjis and two tortoises sleep in the big master bedroom. So it's my priority to heat it comfortably for us all....and considering the African dogs, Sulcata, Hermanni...and ME who's always cold anyway (I'm teeny...115lbs)....I'd be happy if we all had a nice, toasty 85° all night and to not have a $400 electric bill. LOL


Sandy
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lynnedit

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Sandy, I am in SW Washington, and use a regular sized version in my insulated greenhouse where my Russians spend the winter.
I would advise a regular sized heater for a room sized area.
It is very efficient, I only need to use the 600W setting (rather than the 900W). I have never had to set it above 4, and usually at 1 or 2.
 
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