Tortoise enclosure, last few questions

Mr. RussianTortoise

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Joined
Oct 5, 2023
Messages
336
Location (City and/or State)
NJ
Hello again! Here in New Jersey, the weather has finally started to get better ranging from 70-80 degrees. Unfortunately due to my limited space, I was limited from a 10x5 to an 8x5 enclosure. I'm using Sheathing pine plywood for the enclosure and a bunch of 2x4s and 2x2s. My night box is going to be a 2'x2' with 2-inch insulation. I'm going to sprinkle in some weeds and maybe some Boston ferns and other plants for shade. I also have an umbrella for real hot days so I could produce more shade. I'm about to go to Home Depot to get supplies but I was wondering these questions:
1: I looked at the kilz primer 2, but what does kilz primer 2 do? I mean the Behr ultra exterior paint should be seal the wood all by itself.
2: What do yall use to heat up your night box? I'm hoping for a cheap option since I already got out of budget with the project.
Thank you in advance :)
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,308
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Hello again! Here in New Jersey, the weather has finally started to get better ranging from 70-80 degrees. Unfortunately due to my limited space, I was limited from a 10x5 to an 8x5 enclosure. I'm using Sheathing pine plywood for the enclosure and a bunch of 2x4s and 2x2s. My night box is going to be a 2'x2' with 2-inch insulation. I'm going to sprinkle in some weeds and maybe some Boston ferns and other plants for shade. I also have an umbrella for real hot days so I could produce more shade. I'm about to go to Home Depot to get supplies but I was wondering these questions:
1: I looked at the kilz primer 2, but what does kilz primer 2 do? I mean the Behr ultra exterior paint should be seal the wood all by itself.
2: What do yall use to heat up your night box? I'm hoping for a cheap option since I already got out of budget with the project.
Thank you in advance :)
1. Primer seals the wood better and gives the paint a better surface to adhere to. It will make it last longer, but it isn't "necessary".
2. How tall is your 2x2' box? That is really too small for anything but a 12x12 inch RHP. There isn't room for a heat lamp, which would be really helpful in your climate when the weather isn't cooperating. The RHP would be set on a thermostat just to make sure those spring and fall nights don't get too cold when you don't want them to. The heat lamp is great for the days coming out of brumation when you already have them up and eating, but then the weather turns cold and ugly again, or for those days leading in to brumation where you've cut them off of their food, but still need the heat to help them pass what remains in the gut before brumation. I don't use the heat lamp on warm sunny day or at all in summer. Its just for those days when warm spring weather turns cold again for those few days. You could probably pull this off for a Russian in a 2x4 box. Do you have room for that? I like to put the night heat source farther in and have the heat lamp near the door.
 

Mr. RussianTortoise

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2023
Messages
336
Location (City and/or State)
NJ
1. Primer seals the wood better and gives the paint a better surface to adhere to. It will make it last longer, but it isn't "necessary".
2. How tall is your 2x2' box? That is really too small for anything but a 12x12 inch RHP. There isn't room for a heat lamp, which would be really helpful in your climate when the weather isn't cooperating. The RHP would be set on a thermostat just to make sure those spring and fall nights don't get too cold when you don't want them to. The heat lamp is great for the days coming out of brumation when you already have them up and eating, but then the weather turns cold and ugly again, or for those days leading in to brumation where you've cut them off of their food, but still need the heat to help them pass what remains in the gut before brumation. I don't use the heat lamp on warm sunny day or at all in summer. Its just for those days when warm spring weather turns cold again for those few days. You could probably pull this off for a Russian in a 2x4 box. Do you have room for that? I like to put the night heat source farther in and have the heat lamp near the door.
Yes, I have room for a 2x4 box so I'll make that instead of a 2x2. The box is 1 foot high but I can make it higher. My only concern is the heat lamp causing fire hazards.
 

idcowden

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
52
Location (City and/or State)
Walton-on-Thames
Don't know if it helps, but I used a 2ft x 3ft cold frame and hung a ceramic heater in the middle which is plugged into an INKBird ITC 306T bluetooth thermostat. It means I can check the temperature in the cold frame and also set the heat lamp to come on when temperatures drop below a certain level.

This is my cold frame:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004NCY5LG/?tag=
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,308
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Yes, I have room for a 2x4 box so I'll make that instead of a 2x2. The box is 1 foot high but I can make it higher. My only concern is the heat lamp causing fire hazards.
I'd make the outside of the box 24 inches tall and the inside will be about 20 inches tall with all the the insulation and layers. That is plenty of room tp most a fixture for a basking bulb.
 

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