The importance of DEEP shade

biochemnerd808

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
1,399
Location (City and/or State)
Central Arkansas (we moved!)
Ok, folks, we need to talk about SHADE.



You have probably (hopefully) heard tortoise keepers talking about the fact that tortoises need "DEEP SHADE" to retreat into on a hot Summer day (really any day that has air temps above 80 degrees).

What do we mean by "deep shade?" - this is NOT slapping a board across the tortoise enclosure, nor does a little house do the trick. To create DEEP shade, you have to use the *AND* principal. So, for example, deep shade would be under a tree, AND inside a burrow. Or under an umbrella (or shade cloth) AND under a dense bush. Under a dense bush AND inside a deep burrow. Only there can a significantly cooler environment be achieved that our tortoises need to be comfortable on a hot day (unless you have a sulcata who dug a tunnel that goes 4ft under the soil surface).

Not convinced? If you have a temp gun, I would love it if you would go outside, and measure the ground temperature in a nice shady spot, and then in the sun. There can be a temperature difference of 60 degrees! (e.g. the deep shade under our tree is a nice balmy 80 degrees... the dappled shade under a bush is 90, and the flat rocks in the tortoise enclosure measured 140 degrees F before I hosed them down! In comparison, in the burrow that is behind the dense bush, covered in 10 inches of soil, and has been dug out pretty deep by the tortoises, it is 65-70 degrees. Guess where the tortoises are? Except for the 2 crazy ones who are out first thing in the morning, and don't seem to mind the sun (they are also the lightest colored ones), they are all in the burrows right now.



While we are talking about shade and sun - PLEASE do NOT soak your tortoise in the sunshine when it is warm outside - at least not without supervision! Just this year, I have heard of 2 tortoises that died during their soaks, simply because the owner placed the soaking dish in the sun, and then walked away for 30 minutes. A tortoise in a soaking bin has no place to go. If it is overheating, it can't hide, and sitting in 1 inch of cool water certainly won't protect the top of its shell.

Please be sure to provide DEEP shade for your tortoise when it is outside - that's TWO kinds of shade nested inside each other, as explained above. If your tortoise constantly hides during outdoor time, chances are that you might not be providing enough shade in the enclosure.

Let's prevent unnecessary tortoise death, and make sure that a tortoise doesn't cook in their outdoor enclosure or during their soak!
 

biochemnerd808

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2012
Messages
1,399
Location (City and/or State)
Central Arkansas (we moved!)
Thanks for posting about water temps.
Standing water, especially in a metal pan can get hot enough to make tortoise soup.

Yep, I showed my kids this, but using some rounded tortoise-shaped rocks. We set up the (black plastic) soaking tub with 1" of water, and placed a rock in it. We took temps at regular intervals. It took 12 minutes to reach a deathly temperature. The kids will inherit the tortoises some day... so I wanted to make sure they know!
 

Maro2Bear

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 29, 2014
Messages
13,760
Location (City and/or State)
Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Katie, thanks for the informative posting. I had our 1 year 2mos old Sully outside today in the nice hot sun and high humidity. He had several fully shaded areas, some full sun, and some inbetween. I still used our temp gun every 30-45 mins on him just to make sure he was protected.
 

Tort Love

Active Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
187
Ok, folks, we need to talk about SHADE.



You have probably (hopefully) heard tortoise keepers talking about the fact that tortoises need "DEEP SHADE" to retreat into on a hot Summer day (really any day that has air temps above 80 degrees).

What do we mean by "deep shade?" - this is NOT slapping a board across the tortoise enclosure, nor does a little house do the trick. To create DEEP shade, you have to use the *AND* principal. So, for example, deep shade would be under a tree, AND inside a burrow. Or under an umbrella (or shade cloth) AND under a dense bush. Under a dense bush AND inside a deep burrow. Only there can a significantly cooler environment be achieved that our tortoises need to be comfortable on a hot day (unless you have a sulcata who dug a tunnel that goes 4ft under the soil surface).

Not convinced? If you have a temp gun, I would love it if you would go outside, and measure the ground temperature in a nice shady spot, and then in the sun. There can be a temperature difference of 60 degrees! (e.g. the deep shade under our tree is a nice balmy 80 degrees... the dappled shade under a bush is 90, and the flat rocks in the tortoise enclosure measured 140 degrees F before I hosed them down! In comparison, in the burrow that is behind the dense bush, covered in 10 inches of soil, and has been dug out pretty deep by the tortoises, it is 65-70 degrees. Guess where the tortoises are? Except for the 2 crazy ones who are out first thing in the morning, and don't seem to mind the sun (they are also the lightest colored ones), they are all in the burrows right now.



While we are talking about shade and sun - PLEASE do NOT soak your tortoise in the sunshine when it is warm outside - at least not without supervision! Just this year, I have heard of 2 tortoises that died during their soaks, simply because the owner placed the soaking dish in the sun, and then walked away for 30 minutes. A tortoise in a soaking bin has no place to go. If it is overheating, it can't hide, and sitting in 1 inch of cool water certainly won't protect the top of its shell.

Please be sure to provide DEEP shade for your tortoise when it is outside - that's TWO kinds of shade nested inside each other, as explained above. If your tortoise constantly hides during outdoor time, chances are that you might not be providing enough shade in the enclosure.

Let's prevent unnecessary tortoise death, and make sure that a tortoise doesn't cook in their outdoor enclosure or during their soak!
This is Awsome thank you
 

DawnH

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
1,390
Location (City and/or State)
Southeast Texas
Fantastic post!! I have "triple" deep shade for Tuleo and it is a nice 81 degrees while outside temps are 100+. I mean it, walking around with a temp gun really gives you some perspective!!
 

Tort Love

Active Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
187
Image Image Image So this is what I did for tortellini and Mumbai when they go in there hut they wAlk down in there can it has dirt in it they think they are digging but they can't go real far
 

Anyfoot

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
6,312
Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
Ok, folks, we need to talk about SHADE.



You have probably (hopefully) heard tortoise keepers talking about the fact that tortoises need "DEEP SHADE" to retreat into on a hot Summer day (really any day that has air temps above 80 degrees).

What do we mean by "deep shade?" - this is NOT slapping a board across the tortoise enclosure, nor does a little house do the trick. To create DEEP shade, you have to use the *AND* principal. So, for example, deep shade would be under a tree, AND inside a burrow. Or under an umbrella (or shade cloth) AND under a dense bush. Under a dense bush AND inside a deep burrow. Only there can a significantly cooler environment be achieved that our tortoises need to be comfortable on a hot day (unless you have a sulcata who dug a tunnel that goes 4ft under the soil surface).

Not convinced? If you have a temp gun, I would love it if you would go outside, and measure the ground temperature in a nice shady spot, and then in the sun. There can be a temperature difference of 60 degrees! (e.g. the deep shade under our tree is a nice balmy 80 degrees... the dappled shade under a bush is 90, and the flat rocks in the tortoise enclosure measured 140 degrees F before I hosed them down! In comparison, in the burrow that is behind the dense bush, covered in 10 inches of soil, and has been dug out pretty deep by the tortoises, it is 65-70 degrees. Guess where the tortoises are? Except for the 2 crazy ones who are out first thing in the morning, and don't seem to mind the sun (they are also the lightest colored ones), they are all in the burrows right now.



While we are talking about shade and sun - PLEASE do NOT soak your tortoise in the sunshine when it is warm outside - at least not without supervision! Just this year, I have heard of 2 tortoises that died during their soaks, simply because the owner placed the soaking dish in the sun, and then walked away for 30 minutes. A tortoise in a soaking bin has no place to go. If it is overheating, it can't hide, and sitting in 1 inch of cool water certainly won't protect the top of its shell.

Please be sure to provide DEEP shade for your tortoise when it is outside - that's TWO kinds of shade nested inside each other, as explained above. If your tortoise constantly hides during outdoor time, chances are that you might not be providing enough shade in the enclosure.

Let's prevent unnecessary tortoise death, and make sure that a tortoise doesn't cook in their outdoor enclosure or during their soak!
That was a very useful and an informative thread. Thank you.
 

TaraL

New Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2022
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Surprise
Fantastic post!! I have "triple" deep shade for Tuleo and it is a nice 81 degrees while outside temps are 100+. I mean it, walking around with a temp gun really gives you some perspective!!
I would love to know what your "triple" deep shade consists of
 
Top