Single Tortoise Night Box

Tolis

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If i recall correctly he doesnt just puts some dirt to make it easier to clean. Good looking box you have there.
 

AgataP

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@Tom are the Kane heat mats best thing available?
For wet/winter time I think I will have Herbie live in a basement when he gets older. Have 3 empty rooms available.
 

Tolis

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@Tom are the Kane heat mats best thing available?
For wet/winter time I think I will have Herbie live in a basement when he gets older. Have 3 empty rooms available.
Kane and osborne industries make the most reliable heat maps from what I could find out. Unfortunately for me neither is available outside the US
 

AgataP

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Kane and osborne industries make the most reliable heat maps from what I could find out. Unfortunately for me neither is available outside the US

Thank you.
I will look into both. Don’t need it yet but good to start looking.
 

Tom

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Hey Tom!

What substrate you use in your nightbox? I’m building a super nice one right now, all insulated 👍🏻 Thanks for all your tips!
Box looks great so far.

For a sulcata I use no substrate. I put a thin layer of dirt from the yard in there, and this makes cleanup much easier. That's it.

I scrape out the old dirt, poo, and pee with a flat head shovel and then scrape up some fresh dirt to replace it with.
 

Tom

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@Tom are the Kane heat mats best thing available?
For wet/winter time I think I will have Herbie live in a basement when he gets older. Have 3 empty rooms available.
I like the Kane mats and have always used them. They are just one part of a heating strategy for larger sulcatas that are housed outdoors or in large rooms.
 
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Box looks great so far.

For a sulcata I use no substrate. I put a thin layer of dirt from the yard in there, and this makes cleanup much easier. That's it.

I scrape out the old dirt, poo, and pee with a flat head shovel and then scrape up some fresh dirt to replace it with.
Thank you! Yeah I’m gonna make the roof all water proof too and gonna use the radiant heat panel and heating matt. Should work pretty good I think.
Ok that sounds easy enough, appreciate it!
 

thelifeofbuttons

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No food for water inside the box. The box is to simulate a burrow for them. They eat and drink outside the "burrow".

Any growing tortoise needs humidity. I put tubs or buckets of water in the night box and humidity is what it is.

I close doors every night. This keeps them warm, keeps them where I want them, keeps predators out, and reduces electrical usage tremendously. I then open the door every morning.
Hi @Tom Curious where you place tubs of water in this set up? Do you have a built in shelf that runs across the top, like you do in the CDT house set up I saw on another thread? Thanks!
 

Tom

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Hi @Tom Curious where you place tubs of water in this set up? Do you have a built in shelf that runs across the top, like you do in the CDT house set up I saw on another thread? Thanks!

I do it differently for different boxes and different species. Here is my box for my temperate Chersina.
IMG_7257.JPG
 

thelifeofbuttons

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I like the Kane mats and have always used them. They are just one part of a heating strategy for larger sulcatas that are housed outdoors or in large rooms.
TGIF @Tom I'm going to be building this exact box this weekend, hoping to get the heated elements ordered today as well... My question is do you have a particular website you order through consistently, or would recommend? I called our local small business pet supply to see if they could order, so I could support them, but they cannot get most of these things, so back to the internet it is... and it seems no one pet supply site seems to carry all the things for one stop ordering, with prices varying so greatly between sites and products. Just didn't know if you had any advice to offer on this. Thanks!
 

ambreaux

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I would love to build this box @Tom . This might be asking a lot but, is there a "recipe" of sorts you could provide? Like a list of how much wood/materials other than the heating and electrical components that are needed to build this to your specs.
 

vladimir

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There are these threads which may have the info you're looking for:


 

Tom

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I would love to build this box @Tom . This might be asking a lot but, is there a "recipe" of sorts you could provide? Like a list of how much wood/materials other than the heating and electrical components that are needed to build this to your specs.
Look at the ones from Vladimir, and these too:

 

thelifeofbuttons

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@thelifeofbuttons Check Reptile Basics for radiant heat panels, although it looks like they might be out of stock at the moment:

I got my Kane mat from tortoise supply: https://www.tortoisesupply.com/kane - @TylerStewart is a member here.

What other items did you need to order?
Okay, thank you! I have one in my cart on that site already. I'm looking to purchase the Kane mat, the radiant heating panel, and the 1000w thermostat...basically everything Tom has listed in this post for heating. I'm starting from scratch, as I'm currently bringing the dude inside every night.
 

thelifeofbuttons

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I like my larger tortoises to live outside full time. My climate permits this year round with a little help. For people who live where it snows all winter, this type of box is still good for warmer weather, getting them out earlier in Spring, and keeping them out a bit later into fall. You'll need something else for the dead of winter. Or you can move South! :)

The top of this box is half a sheet of plywood, insulated and sealed, so 4x4 feet. The inside of the box ends up being around 40x40 inches when its all done. I use an 18x28 inch Kane heat mat on the floor, and a 21" radiant heat panel on the top. Both are controlled by the same thermostat: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
I lower the RHP so that it is within 6-8 inches of the tortoises carapace that lives in the box. I like to screw a plastic shoe box to the back of the box to contain all the extra wires and thermostat. Weather strip seals the top where the hinged lid meets it, and I use plastic freezer stripping across the door to hold in heat when the door is open. The door drops down like a drawbridge and makes a ramp fro the tortoise to get in and out easier. I latch the door shut every night and open the door every morning.

In summer our daytime highs are usually right around 100, with night time lows around 65. I unplug the boxes during this time and temps stay between 70 and 90 in them. In Fall, we have warm sunny days usually into December, so I set the thermostat to 80. As soon as the weather turns cold in winter, I bump the thermostat up to 86, so they always have an area to get warmer in on a cold rainy day here. Spring time brings back warmer sunny days, so I lower the box temp back down to 80. This routine works great for any tropical species like Stars, radiata, sulcatas and leopards.

Here is the box during construction. I frame the plywood walls with 2x4s and use 1.5" rigid foam as insulation. Then I seal it with silicone caulking and cover the walls with plywood inside.
View attachment 291639

Here is all the electrical stuff going into it:
View attachment 291640

View attachment 291641

Here I want to show the weather stripping in place, and the drip loop. The drip loop is simply draping the cord down a bit so that when it rains, the water drips down the cord to the ground instead of following the cord downhill right into the box.
View attachment 291642

Ready to keep a tortoise warm and safe at night:
View attachment 291643

This is a great way to house a large leopard or sulcata in a relatively warm climate. We get cold winter nights in the 20s and this box, built and heated this way, keeps them in the 80s. Because my climate is so dry, I usually add a 5 gallon bucket or some tubs of water to generate some ambient humidity inside the box. People in the South East US wouldn't need to do this.

Questions and conversation are welcome! :)

For larger tortoises, multiple tortoises, and a different heating strategy, see this thread:
Hi @Tom oe anyone else who can help me answer this question...
I'm getting the heating elements installed on my Sulcata House, but I'm a bit of an over thinker. I have the same heating elements exactly that you list here, however, I could only find a 500W temp controller. Apparently, Zilla is not making a 1000W one anymore. It seems as though with just the two heating elements, 500W should be sufficient, BUT, there is only one outlet on the controller. Obviously, I'll nee two, but hesitant to jerry-rig a send plug, as I don't want to over load the system. Has anyone come across this impasse? Do I upgrade to a different temp controller, or can I use a short extension cord into the one outlet on the temp. controller? I can't find anywhere on the instructions where it says to not plug more than one heating element. Advice, please and thank you!
 

vladimir

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Hi @Tom oe anyone else who can help me answer this question...
I'm getting the heating elements installed on my Sulcata House, but I'm a bit of an over thinker. I have the same heating elements exactly that you list here, however, I could only find a 500W temp controller. Apparently, Zilla is not making a 1000W one anymore. It seems as though with just the two heating elements, 500W should be sufficient, BUT, there is only one outlet on the controller. Obviously, I'll nee two, but hesitant to jerry-rig a send plug, as I don't want to over load the system. Has anyone come across this impasse? Do I upgrade to a different temp controller, or can I use a short extension cord into the one outlet on the temp. controller? I can't find anywhere on the instructions where it says to not plug more than one heating element. Advice, please and thank you!

I have several of these in use: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01486LZ50/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20

They have two outlets and support up to 1200w total.

They also have a nice LCD display which makes it easy to check the temps at a glance.
 

Tom

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Hi @Tom oe anyone else who can help me answer this question...
I'm getting the heating elements installed on my Sulcata House, but I'm a bit of an over thinker. I have the same heating elements exactly that you list here, however, I could only find a 500W temp controller. Apparently, Zilla is not making a 1000W one anymore. It seems as though with just the two heating elements, 500W should be sufficient, BUT, there is only one outlet on the controller. Obviously, I'll nee two, but hesitant to jerry-rig a send plug, as I don't want to over load the system. Has anyone come across this impasse? Do I upgrade to a different temp controller, or can I use a short extension cord into the one outlet on the temp. controller? I can't find anywhere on the instructions where it says to not plug more than one heating element. Advice, please and thank you!
Buy a different thermostat. There are lots of them available.
 

thelifeofbuttons

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