Warming Mat

belindajon

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Freddie is my 5 year old, 20 pound-ish Sulcata.

In preparation for winter (we live in coastal Southern California) I purchased a Kane pig blanket as well as a Vivarium heat panel. Knowing how particular sulcatas are I placed the mat in his house so he could get used to the mat before he actually needed it. Well that was an epic fail. He walked into his house and promptly about faced and attempted to spend the night outside. I forced him to sleep in his house but didn't turn the mat on as it was still too hot (it was during our recent heat wave). When it did cool down I turned the pig blanket on but had issues with it overheating because as I mentioned, we had a heatwave and it was just too hot. I eventually pulled the mat out and he has gone back to putting himself to bed at night on his own.

I recently installed the Vivarium heat panel and that is keeping his house a very nice and toasty 82 degrees which he seems to love. My question is do I need to put the blanket down as we progress further into winter? Obviously our winters don't get terribly cold, but we do get damp. Does he need that warming on his belly or is the warmth from the top enough?

Thanks in advance!

Belinda and Freddie
 

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Tom

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You will need both in an insulated and sealed night box with door flaps and a door that closes.

If you run the mat and RHP on a thermostat, it will keep the box at the temp you want without it ever over heating. The box needs to be large enough for the tortoise to be in the warm air, but off the mat if it chooses. Here is an example: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/single-tortoise-night-box.181515/

I set my boxes for 80 most of the year, 86 during the coldest parts of winter, and down to 70-75 in the hot summers when temps are topping 100 daily.
 

belindajon

New Member
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Mar 22, 2019
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Location (City and/or State)
Orange County, CA
You will need both in an insulated and sealed night box with door flaps and a door that closes.

If you run the mat and RHP on a thermostat, it will keep the box at the temp you want without it ever over heating. The box needs to be large enough for the tortoise to be in the warm air, but off the mat if it chooses. Here is an example: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/single-tortoise-night-box.181515/




His box is well insulated and holds the heat very well. I used rigid insulation and am very happy with the heat retention. Both the mat and the heat panel have thermostats so I am able to maintain the heat at a temperature that is comfortable for him. His house is large enough for him to move around but will probably only last him another year. I do have a door on his house that closes/locks (racoons in the area). The only weakness in his setup is the mat, which he hates. I do not have the mat in his house now because he does not like it, he hates it. So back to my question, is the mat necessary if the temperature of the house is comfortable for him.
 

Tom

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His box is well insulated and holds the heat very well. I used rigid insulation and am very happy with the heat retention. Both the mat and the heat panel have thermostats so I am able to maintain the heat at a temperature that is comfortable for him. His house is large enough for him to move around but will probably only last him another year. I do have a door on his house that closes/locks (racoons in the area). The only weakness in his setup is the mat, which he hates. I do not have the mat in his house now because he does not like it, he hates it. So back to my question, is the mat necessary if the temperature of the house is comfortable for him.
Only your thermometer can answer this question. On a cold night you will need to go out several times and measure the temperature on the floor under the tortoise. If its staying 80-ish or better, then the mat isn't necessary. If the temp under the tortoise is colder than that, it means you are losing too much heat from the floor, and the mat will be needed. In my experience, an RHP alone will not maintain the heat well enough by itself on a cold winter night.

Is the box large enough inside to allow the tortoise to get completely off his heat mat? It needs to be.

Also, tortoises don't like change. Your tortoise doesn't hate the heat mat. Its just something new and unfamiliar. If you don't need it for heat right now, put it in there unplugged and close the tortoise in the box for sleeping every night. After a few nights the tortoise will get used to the new thing and accept it. In winter, the tortoise will love the mat because its warm.

I run my RHPs and heat mats all on the same thermostat, and put the probes over on the "cool" side, away from the heat sources. This keeps the ambient air temp on the cooler side warm enough year round, and keeps the mat and RHP off when temps are already warm enough.
 

belindajon

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Location (City and/or State)
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Thanks Tom, this is exactly the info I was looking for :) Fred can move completely off the heating mat and I did put it in there unplugged so he could get used to the change which prompted his "moving out".

One last question. The thermostats only have one outlet, what do you use to plug in both heating devices?
 

Tom

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