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Temperatures!

Discussion in 'Sulcata tortoises' started by Reptilony, Mar 14, 2019.

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  1. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    I would like to clarify a few things about sulcata temps requirements. I’ve already tried searching existing post on this forum. So, It would be much appreciated if someone could answer all my questions. I want to talk about adult sulcatas temps because there is much less post about that. So what is the lowest correct temperature to let your tort spend the day? I have read that it would be 65F if dry? If so is that considering that the tort have been able to bask at the correct temp during the day? What if the entire day there has not been a correct basking temp because there’s been clouds the whole day? Why is it okay to let a sully be out in the 60’s if this temp would never be seen where they live? Would an adult be okay in a big room with a room temperature of let’s say 75F and a 100F basking spot? (I’ve seen sully’s in these conditions without visible problems) If so would that mean that the sully decides to bask when they want and so they are actually able to thermoregulate their body? My sully seems to do that in her enclosure however the minimum temp that I decided is 85 BUT an adult from what I have read can go lower that so can it just do the same thing but with a lower temperature? Let’s say your sully is outside and it’s a dry 65F and you give it an area when it can warm up to 100F would that be okay? If so wouldn’t that be the same things if inside? How can the Notortoise on IG can raise a healthy sully near central park NY? Im don’t think it’s a good life for a sully but still she managed to raise a healthy sully with her appartment conditions so how did she do it? Again, lots of question here but I’d really appreciate your opinion or expertise on the matter thanks!
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    According to Tom, there is no such thing as "cold" in Africa, so you shouldn't allow your tortoise to be in temperatures below 70F. However, my sulcata understands the meaning of "I'm getting cold" and he goes into his heated house when that happens. His shed is kept at 80F or hotter all the time, day and night. His door is always open during the day and he goes out whether it's cold or not. After he's been out in the cold for a while, he goes back into the shed. But not all tortoises understand that they're getting cold, and they just hunker down where they are and get too cold. Some tortoises have died because of this. You can't trust that they know they're getting too cold.

    Big tortoises' core temperature stays warm a whole lot longer than the core temperature of smaller animals.

    Just because a tortoise is alive and living in a cooler area doesn't mean he's healthy.
  3. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    Ok thank you, that helps a lot. Hatchlings need a basking temperature of 95 to 100F to digest properly, I don’t see poeple give their adult sully a basking spot, what if the temperature never reach this high in a couple days or weeks, does that cause a problem?
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    If he has a heated retreat (shed, night box) that is always kept above 80F then that's ok. As long as he can warm up his core to 80+ he's fine.
  5. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    Ok so if I where to have a really big indoor enclosure for an adult sully (which may sound crazy but im already crazy for having a big african reptile in a cold climate) I would only need his room to be at 80F and would not need a basking spot? At what age or size do sully’s stop needing that basking spot?
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  6. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Whether it' 'needed' or not most tortoises enjoy sitting under the light/sun and warming up. If there's no access to real sun, I'd always provide a UVB light to sit under.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    This is a tricky subject. Its one answer for babies and another adults.

    65 is okay for a baby IF its sunny and dry, and you are just trying to give the baby an hour or so of UV, and the ground temp where the baby is hanging out is 80+. 65 can be okay, but its not always okay. Evaporative cooling on damp ground after a rain might make it too cold. A cloudy day might make it too cold. Too much wind and that temperature drops. There are a wide variety of factors to take into consideration with any number that any person suggests as a minimum to take them outside, and this would only be for a short duration before returning the tortoise to the warm, humid indoor enclosure.

    For adults, I don't have a basking spot because those tend to damage the carapace scutes on larger tortoises, but the tortoises always have a warm area to retreat to on cooler days. Most days here are warm and sunny. For 8 or 9 months of every year the daily highs are at least in the 70's and usually in the 80s. We are usually near 100 all summer long. In winter we usually have some cold rainy days in the 50s, but never more than two or three days, and those colder days are always followed by warmer sunny days. This year has been particularly bad, but we've still had full sun 75% of the days up here where I am. I set my night boxes to 86 in winter, and the big sulcatas come and go as they please. I lock them in at dusk and open their doors in the morning every day, rain or shine. My sulcatas know the warmest areas to go to. It can be 50 outside and the ground next to the south facing wall where they are basking can be 85-90. Their carapaces can temp in the high 90s on these occasions. Depends on wind, ambient temp, ground moisture, and how long they sit there. The bottom line: It works.

    Indoors with similar temps, but without the benefit of the warm sunshine, this will not likely work. To make a safe basking area indoors for a large tortoise, you'd need a bank of high wattage bulbs and it would have to be mounted high up, so as to minimize the carapace desiccation. It just isn't practical. It would cost a fortune to buy and to run. Also, ground temps indoors tend to be too cold. If you heat a room to 80 and then go around and check floor temps, it can be 10-15 degrees colder down there. It can actually be much colder than that depending on insulation and what is under the floor.

    So how does a person house a giant tropical species of tortoise indoors in a cold climate? I don't know. I don't see any practical way to do it that is okay with my set of ethics and animal husbandry guidelines. If I were to attempt it, I'd build a large insulated barn or warehouse with at least two redundant floor heating systems and an automated back up generator system that could run it in the even of a power outage. Then I'd have to look into some sort of specialized zoo type over head lighting to create a basking area. A guy gave a brief presentation on this at a TTPG conference, but the lights just weren't practical for any normal "home" tortoise housing situation. I think they were called "plasma" lights? These two systems would give you a constant warm ambient temp, and also a hotter place to go bask in the "sun" and get warmer every day. What would all this cost? Probably $50,000-100,000 US dollars, depending on the size and many other factors. It isn't practical or economically feasible for most people. I wouldn't do it. If I lived on a climate that was unsuitable for housing a giant tortoise outdoors all year, I wouldn't get a giant tortoise. I'd get something smaller that I could house correctly all year long with more practical, affordable means.
  8. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    Ok so basicaly you are saying im screwed and made a mistake lol. You are kinda right! Can’t ship it south tho... So what should I do then? Euthanize my sully? Nope I’ll give my best. I don’t agree that the perfect setup would cost 50 000 100 000 US. I think I can make something for much less. If in the end the floor and air is warm, that the sully can warm up to 100F and get uvb, in a big room with a good substrate, it would be healthy. My other option is to move in another country eh!? Maybe in a couple years. I’ve already heated a whole room for redfoots rescues and made sure the floor was always at least at 80F and it was only done with two small oil heater without putting them at the highest setting. Sure even a room this size is not the most wishable for an adult sully but hell I have it I might as well try to give her the best possible life.
  9. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    Show us what you work out. I know you'll make it right and people like me with none of that cold weather experience can learn from what you figure out.
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  10. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    Actually I went and looked if I could export a sully and the us law seems to be okay with that I just don’t know about Can law to export a tort. I only talks about farm animals
  11. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member

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    It has been illegal to import sulcatas or leopards into the US since 1998.
  12. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    Oh well, see this sully can’t go south and selling it here would be a death sentence because no one has more dedication than I do for these animals in Can. I always see hatchlings for sale here, it’s obvious why we don’t see many adult sully’s here, almost all of them end up dead, I have no choice but to try my best. Should’ve gotten a horsefield, they’re already better suited for our climate.
  13. joepesci

    joepesci New Member

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    I've got a sulcata in Canada and my power bill is acouple hundred bucks a month more than average in winter but it can be done.
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  14. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    A couple hundred bucks!? Are you very rich?
  15. joepesci

    joepesci New Member

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    I put my extra money into my animals, I made a commitment when I got them so if I have to work a bit more to keep the heat on thats what I do.
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  16. Reptilony

    Reptilony Well-Known Member

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    I like your way of seeing this. I love my sully too much I’ll do the best I can. Btw how do you house yours? Is it in somewhere in the house in the winter or in a shed?
  17. calmingwind

    calmingwind New Member

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    Well I found an igloo for dogs that looked like a tree stump it was wide enough for him I put a clip on her plight with a150 watt heat lamp red and it did keep him warm during the cold winter here in phx I covered it with tap to keep the heat in. No issues.
  18. joepesci

    joepesci New Member

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    i just moved so i put this up last week, im still buding the basement of it. its all rigid insulated walls except for the greenhouse roof which is 2 layers with a 1 inch air gap of greenhouse poly. My sulcata is only 5 and about 25 pounds.

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  19. calmingwind

    calmingwind New Member

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    I think that looks good I would really make sure no heat could escape from the top and dig down about a foot so he can craw in and out and a 150 watt heating build should do good.
  20. calmingwind

    calmingwind New Member

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    Have you thought about solar heater or as a power source
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