Outdoor sulcata in the NJ winter? (Will my enclosure plan work?)

abbypetty

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I apologize if I’m using this forum wrong, I’m new here!

I really want to get a sulcata, and I live in NJ. I live with my parents right now, on a little less than an acre of land. In about 2 years I’m planning to buy my own house with my partner (after he finishes school), which our one requirement is a decent sized yard. So basically, I’m not worried about space.

My concern is winter here. They’ve been very mild the past few years, but it does get below freezing here with light dustings of snow a few weeks a year. Here are the average low temperatures each month:

Average Monthly low in °F:22°23°31°38°48°57°64°63°56°44°35°26°

I need help figuring out if this tortoise could live outside year round as an adult, with a proper heated home.

My thought is to have an insulated house (like a large dog house that I’ll build), with proper heating inside, and another “room” that has a glass roof like a greenhouse. This way in the winter they could get some sun while inside, and venture outside if they feel like it. I would add a heated floor mat and the appropriate lighting.

Is this possible to work? What do you guys think?
 

Turtulas-Len

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In my opinion insulating the house properly is the most important aspect of keeping tortoises in cold climate areas. Think of the house you build as a burrow for your tortoise. It needs to be big enough so he can get off the heat pad. I don't understand about the benefits of the other room with the glass roof. Don't use average temps and snow fall amounts when setting things up. Prepare for the unexpected and have backups to help deal with anything you can think of that might happen. I keep sulcatas that have free range all year. Yes it can be done to answer your question.
 

JackieJax

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I've started construction on my Sulcatas winter home attachment myself. I should be done in another weekend or so and test how well it does.
 

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JackieJax

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In my opinion insulating the house properly is the most important aspect of keeping tortoises in cold climate areas. Think of the house you build as a burrow for your tortoise. It needs to be big enough so he can get off the heat pad. I don't understand about the benefits of the other room with the glass roof. Don't use average temps and snow fall amounts when setting things up. Prepare for the unexpected and have backups to help deal with anything you can think of that might happen. I keep sulcatas that have free range all year. Yes it can be done to answer your question.
Where are your sulcatas located?
 

Yvonne G

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What you're talking about is not cheap. Just being out of school, you have to think about where the money will be coming from to do these things for your sulcata. My advice is to wait until you have your own house and budget, then if you figure you can afford it, get the tortoise at that time.
 

JackieJax

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What you're talking about is not cheap. Just being out of school, you have to think about where the money will be coming from to do these things for your sulcata. My advice is to wait until you have your own house and budget, then if you figure you can afford it, get the tortoise at that time.
I agree with you. Building a proper night box cost me around $800. The shed I'm currently building is about to pass the $2k mark here pretty soon
 

JackieJax

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On the Virginia side of the Potomac river east of Washington DC. Colonial Beach.
Wooo so it's possible! I've temporarily moved to Utah and the person who was going to watch my Tortimer while out here for two years backed out and I can't part with him like folks have suggested. So I've been building him a winter home, though felt bad about having him in a snowy state for a couple of years.
 

maggie3fan

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There are many Sulcata living in the frozen North...there are long stretches at a time where my Sulcata is stuck inside due to weather, Sulcata get pretty angry at being in when they want out...personally...I think it's kinda selfish to keep an animal like a large Sulcata in weather not ideal. But if we are gonna anyway, we should give them the best enclosure for them. In my case it's a 20'x12' heated and insulated tort shed. There's a doggie door for ease of coming and going...it's not cheap at all....
100 0087 100 6255
 

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