Questions about indoor winter enclosure for Adult Sulcata?

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tropicaltraveler

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Hey tortoise folks. So I am pretty new to the Tortoise world and I am in the process of creating a large basement enclosure for my newly adopted semi-adult Sulcata.

I have read many opinions and would like to here more regarding the use of substrate for an adult. Use one? It seems that something would help cleanup but I want what is best for the tortoise.

Second question is regarding night heat... I have a 160w mercury bulb on for most of the day which he really seems to like, but after it goes off at night there is no other heat source. The basement is keeping in the 60s right now but it may drop into the 50s once winter hits. do you folks have suggestions for night time heat? I have looked into the pig blanket mats but there seems to be a debate about that.
Could something that holds heat for a couple hours be sufficient? Like a microwave-heated corn bag, or water bottle???

Let me know your thoughts!!
Thanks
Kelly
 

wellington

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Just my opinion. I do not keep a sulcata. However I have a very young leopard. They are pretty much kept the same. When mine gets larger, I will have an outdoor winter house for him. The temps I will be keeping at that time will be 80 day 70night. I would use substrate if I were you, will help to clean up better. I would also use some night heat. If your temps at night stayed around 60 you probably wouldn't need heat, but 50 and lower and probably colder on a cement floor I would use some heat. Either a pig blanket or a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) for a warm sleeping spot. I would think either would work good.
 

Greg T

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Since we don't have basements here in Texas, I make my winter enclosure in the garage, so it is similar. I use a mix of bagged dirt and some sand, probably 3 bags dirt to 1 bag sand. It dries out so you have to mist it about every day. This works well because it soaks up the pee and makes cleaning up the poop realy easy too. In the spring I just start scooping it all up and through it in low spots in the yard. After a good sweeping you can't even tell it was in the garage. I made the sides out of plywood (7' x 7') and created a corner hide (2' x 2'). My sun light is outside the enclosure and inside I put two black bulbs for night time heat. It works well and keep the night heat around 65 or so which seems to work well for my adult leopards. You could easily make something on a smaller scale in the basement.
 
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