White or black house?

Hermany'sMum

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Hello again!
Now winding down for winter has started, I am getting a good idea of how to change the garden for the benefit of our tortoise and things that may meet her needs when she wakes up next year.
Our garden is sadly North facing and only gets sunshine for about 3 months of the year. We've put in new fences and I'm half way through painting them a pale colour to reflect the light and heat so we can then grow grass and plants like clover and rocket for next year. I just have to remove all the paving slabs and sand next!

We are also making a new house for her. My other half is making a wooden box, sandwiching it with a thick layer of polystyrene in the middle to try and keep her warm, as well as lifting it off the ground a little bit so it doesn't sit on the cold ground and wet. We can't decide on colour. I want to paint the box black to try and take in any warmth from the sun so it helps at night time, but my other half thinks it may get too hot and wants to paint it white. Any thoughts which is best? Or will it not make much difference because it's going to be so well insulated?
 

wellington

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What kind of tortoise is this for?
Is this where you are going to hibernate her? Which wouldn't be good as it wouldn't be a consistent temp.
If it's only for the summer months will she have access to go in and out on her own during the day? If so and you have little sun I would do black. It will still cool down at night and if you make the top lift up you can always open that to let heat out if it did get too hot.
My shed is insulated and still gets hotter during the warm sunny days and gets cooler at night.
 

Hermany'sMum

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Cheers for your reply :) Yes, it will have a removable lid (like her box now) and a little closeable door at the front to keep our nosy hedgehogs and mice out at night! One that she can push open tho herself. I do think black because hopefully the wood will warm a little during the day to help overnight.

She's a Med tortoise, a spur-thighed. It's her outdoor house for when she lives in the garden in the summer. For hibernation she will go back to London where she's been the last 45 years and hibernate in her box, in a brick built shed. This until we get a chance to get her something suitable for here for hibernation, be a fridge or whatever. Sadly our shed is wood and not suitable for the job over winter.
 

Tom

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Hello again!
Now winding down for winter has started, I am getting a good idea of how to change the garden for the benefit of our tortoise and things that may meet her needs when she wakes up next year.
Our garden is sadly North facing and only gets sunshine for about 3 months of the year. We've put in new fences and I'm half way through painting them a pale colour to reflect the light and heat so we can then grow grass and plants like clover and rocket for next year. I just have to remove all the paving slabs and sand next!

We are also making a new house for her. My other half is making a wooden box, sandwiching it with a thick layer of polystyrene in the middle to try and keep her warm, as well as lifting it off the ground a little bit so it doesn't sit on the cold ground and wet. We can't decide on colour. I want to paint the box black to try and take in any warmth from the sun so it helps at night time, but my other half thinks it may get too hot and wants to paint it white. Any thoughts which is best? Or will it not make much difference because it's going to be so well insulated?

I don't know how much difference it will make in your situation since your weather is typically cold (In comparison…) and frequently over cast, and because the area where the box will be only gets sun for three months a year. In your climate, I would think you'd want all the warmth you can get. The Mediterranean summers where your tortoise comes from get quite warm. Quite a lot warmer than your summers.

Here in Southern CA, our summer days usually top out at 36-40 degrees, with occasional spike up to 44. My outdoor boxes get sun every day all year round. I've started painting the tops white for summer, and dark for winter. I saw a 10-15 F degree temperature drop in my boxes in summer when I painted the tops white. These are well insulated boxes too. I would think that in your climate, you'd want as much heat as you could get, so I'd paint the box black.

On the hottest of hot days in summer, what does your high temp reach? In their native range, its not uncommon to see daytime high temps near 36-37 in summer.
 

Yvonne G

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Since I advocate placing the box in deep shade, to me it doesn't make any difference what the color is.
 
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