Things I Do

Turtulas-Len

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This will be an ongoing thread about how I keep tortoises and some of the things I do differently than what is suggested here on TFO sometimes. And maybe be able to explain why and how. The first, I thought this of a couple years ago when Donald, one of my sulcatas was still living in a closed chamber. For some reason he started wanting to sleep out of his hide and would park under a che in the corner. The che was 17 inches above the substrate with the wattage reduced to lower it's heat output but it would still dry his shell out overnight. So when he settled into that corner I'd take a wet folded washcloth and lay over him. Then before I went to sleep I would lay another wet cloth on top of the first washcloth and in the morning the first cloth was still damp. Picture_002.jpg Picture_005.jpg in the bottom pic the white object upper right is a temperature sending unit so I could keep track of the temp at that level. Doing this worked very well for Donald so I used it again for Thomas.
 

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This will be an ongoing thread about how I keep tortoises and some of the things I do differently than what is suggested here on TFO sometimes. And maybe be able to explain why and how. The first, I thought this of a couple years ago when Donald, one of my sulcatas was still living in a closed chamber. For some reason he started wanting to sleep out of his hide and would park under a che in the corner. The che was 17 inches above the substrate with the wattage reduced to lower it's heat output but it would still dry his shell out overnight. So when he settled into that corner I'd take a wet folded washcloth and lay over him. Then before I went to sleep I would lay another wet cloth on top of the first washcloth and in the morning the first cloth was still damp. View attachment 351506 View attachment 351507 in the bottom pic the white object upper right is a temperature sending unit so I could keep track of the temp at that level. Doing this worked very well for Donald so I used it again for Thomas.
Man. That's a lot of dedication
 

Turtulas-Len

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I worry that the evaporation process might act as a cooling effect on the shell?????
It's in a closed chamber with constant temperatures in the mid to low 80s throughout at the surface level. I don't do cool down temps at night for my youngsters. So no cooling effect.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Bottom heat is somewhat controversial here on TFO but I couldn't do what I do with my tortoises without using it. I use bottom heat from hatchling to adult size. I don't use thermostats I use rheostats so I can keep the temperature constant. With a thermostat the heat is either rising or lowering to maintain the temperature you have it set to, even in an indoor setting where there isn't a great change in the ambient temperature surrounding the enclosure. To set it up right I use KIMG1506.JPG these 3 things. A kill a watt to see how much electricity I'm sending to the heat source. After getting it to the right wattage for the temperature I'm looking for I can record it for future use if needed. A lamp dimmer or another type of rheostat is used to adjust the wattage either up or down to get the correct temperature. And the temp gun is to read the temperatures. I also use these to set above heat sources. I've noticed here on TFO people are raising and lowering their basking lights and CHEs. Using the lamp dimmer this wouldn't be necessary after securing either the light or che safely just adjust it down to the temperature you are looking for. The lamp dimmers I use are rated to 300 watts. Doing the heat setup correct takes some time but once you get it no other adjustment should be necessary. I have 3 heat sources in Walkers house a heat mat, a electric oil filled radiator and a 150 watt CHE. The mat and the heater are at the same settings they have been for years. I sometimes adjust the che wattage to increase his temps slightly.
 

Turtulas-Len

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I see no reason to continue this thread. I was going to try to explain what percentage of floor space is heated with bottom heat in each enclosure and the outside house's. The spacing apart of the different heaters and how each of the different heat sources effect the other heaters. But see no reason for continuing.
 

TammyJ

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I see no reason to continue this thread. I was going to try to explain what percentage of floor space is heated with bottom heat in each enclosure and the outside house's. The spacing apart of the different heaters and how each of the different heat sources effect the other heaters. But see no reason for continuing.
I don't get why the sudden rather puzzling first and last remarks?! Why? What am I missing?
 

Tim Carlisle

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This will be an ongoing thread about how I keep tortoises and some of the things I do differently than what is suggested here on TFO sometimes. And maybe be able to explain why and how. The first, I thought this of a couple years ago when Donald, one of my sulcatas was still living in a closed chamber. For some reason he started wanting to sleep out of his hide and would park under a che in the corner. The che was 17 inches above the substrate with the wattage reduced to lower it's heat output but it would still dry his shell out overnight. So when he settled into that corner I'd take a wet folded washcloth and lay over him. Then before I went to sleep I would lay another wet cloth on top of the first washcloth and in the morning the first cloth was still damp. View attachment 351506 View attachment 351507 in the bottom pic the white object upper right is a temperature sending unit so I could keep track of the temp at that level. Doing this worked very well for Donald so I used it again for Thomas.
I do the wet washcloth approach with mine as well. In my case I use an old hand towel. I only keep it on for a couple or few hours at night though, maybe twice per week. How long / often do you do yours?
 

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I see no reason to continue this thread. I was going to try to explain what percentage of floor space is heated with bottom heat in each enclosure and the outside house's. The spacing apart of the different heaters and how each of the different heat sources effect the other heaters. But see no reason for continuing.
What? I was looking forward to your take on keeping the tortoises outside all the time. We can all benefit from your ideas. I don't understand what happened?????
 

Turtulas-Len

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I do the wet washcloth approach with mine as well. In my case I use an old hand towel. I only keep it on for a couple or few hours at night though, maybe twice per week. How long / often do you do yours?
I only did the washcloth thing when they were young and only when they decided to park in the corner right below a che for the night. A few nights before I thought about using a wet cloth I would put Donald in his hide and he stayed in the rest of the night. I left the wet cloth on them all night long and didn't remove it until they started moving around the next morning.
 

Turtulas-Len

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What? I was looking forward to your take on keeping the tortoises outside all the time. We can all benefit from your ideas. I don't understand what happened?????
That post about using bottom heat was up for over 24 hours and not one response so I figured talking about bottom heat is taboo and not wanted here. So I'll just let go.
 

Yvonne G

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That post about using bottom heat was up for over 24 hours and not one response so I figured talking about bottom heat is taboo and not wanted here. So I'll just let go.
Many of us use the Kane and Stanfield pig pads. It would be beneficial for folks to know where, when and how to use them. For example, I never put them under small tortoises. They don't seem to realize they can walk away and off them if they get too hot.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Many of us use the Kane and Stanfield pig pads. It would be beneficial for folks to know where, when and how to use them. For example, I never put them under small tortoises. They don't seem to realize they can walk away and off them if they get too hot.
The rheostats that Kane and Stanfield offer can only be turned down so far or off. I got one in the box with the mat I just received and checked it with my kill a watt and as low as it would go was 12.1 watts which under certain circumstances may be more wattage than needed and the mat may get hotter than you want. Using a lamp dimmer you can drop wattage down as low as needed to get a safe mat temperature.i use a hardback book laying on the mat to find the right temperature because it will absorb heat as close as anything else I could think of like a tortoise would. It takes some time to get a good reading. At least a couple to a few hours. Lift the book and read the temps of bottom of the book and the mat where the book was setting. For youngsters I like to set it around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 80 degrees is safe even for hatchlings. The warmest part of the mat will be directly under the tortoise.
 

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That post about using bottom heat was up for over 24 hours and not one response so I figured talking about bottom heat is taboo and not wanted here. So I'll just let go.
i have nothing to add to this thread , but i was going to respond to bottom heat being controversial , but i figured i'd just keep it to myself ....... should be nothing controversial about bottom heat , in nature they use a variety of methods to regulate their body temps ..... the sun , the ground , a hot rock , asphalt road , water a black surface , i don't believe it's even a question as to whether they use bottom heat or not naturally .... personally i do kinda think they can see/detect heat , hot surfaces , it sure appears that way with what i'm seeing ....
 

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That post about using bottom heat was up for over 24 hours and not one response so I figured talking about bottom heat is taboo and not wanted here. So I'll just let go.
I had not seen it yet Len. You do a lot of unconventional things and they work for you. My reason for requesting the thread was so that we could all understand all the details behind what you are doing, or not doing, and learn from it.

Your tortoises looks amazing, and exude good health. It could be disastrous for someone to see what amazing results you produce, and then to read that you use bottom heat, but not read all these important details, and they just went to the reptile store and bought a stick on heat mat in an effort to copy your way of doing it. The simple sentence: "I use bottom heat." could really cause some problems for people. Reading the above paragraph in post #16 with all the details explained is a whole different animal than the one simple sentence, and those details make the difference between your success and someone else's disaster.

You think outside the box, but you are also smart and experienced enough to pay attention to what you are doing, see the effects, and make immediate adjustments as needed. You innovate. We can all learn from your experience, but without the details, costly mistakes will be made. A brand new tortoise keeper will not understand much of what your are doing and why, and them trying to emulate you without the benefit of these important details is likely to fail.

I love it when people do unconventional things that work. I learn from it. This is how tortoise knowledge advances. You've been around TFO as long as I have. Do you remember all the hell I caught when I came around saying to soak sulcatas daily and keep them humid? I knew I was right, and so I persisted, and look at the whole world now. You are also right in what you know and what you have first hand experience with, and I request the you also persist. Neither you nor I are going to live forever. Better that our hard earned knowledge be passed down to help and inspire youngsters that are smarter and more motivated than you or I. Please keep going with this thread. None of us knows everything, and you've got some valuable puzzle pieces swimming around in that head of yours. It would be a shame not to share what you've figured out.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Many of us use the Kane and Stanfield pig pads. It would be beneficial for folks to know where, when and how to use them. For example, I never put them under small tortoises. They don't seem to realize they can walk away and off them if they get too hot.
I came back to this because I didn't give my thoughts on the placement of a heat mat. Specifically in a heated house. Some of you may remember when I won the photo contest that Osbourne Industries had and the prize was a corner Stanfield mat. I used it in a house that the 3 adult females used. Being in a corner I wondered if they used it to heat up or were setting on it just because it was in the corner. Most sulcatas will bed down in one of the corners just because it's a corner. Anyway I don't place heat mats in a corner and I no longer have that corner mat. I gave it away. Now if my sulcatas are setting on the mat I know they chose to be there.
 

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