Winter Adult Sulcata Housing

Cowboy_Ken

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My heated box for them is available to them year round. 90° daytime high and 85°dropping to 80° at nighttime. Right now it's currently 82.6° in the box and 54° outside. I'm in Oregon. We are getting a rainy spell right now. They come and go in the box daytime as they wish, but are locked in at night for critter protection.
 

ducksarecool12

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At what temperatures do your sulcatas start using the warm house each year? And what would be a good size for 3 adults? Lets go a little bigger incase I wanted too add another later on. ;)
 

ducksarecool12

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Sorry.. Thought my first question didn't go through, but it just jumped too another page! whoops..
 

ducksarecool12

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I thought the boxes were only used in the winter months.. Do they go in at night for bed?

are they heated year around also?
 

Cowboy_Ken

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I use an oil filled heater that is on a thermostat. If the temps are good, yay me, no electric is used. But it's ready to go if needed.
 

ducksarecool12

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What substrate do you use in the heated box and do you use the heated mats or just oil heater?
 

ducksarecool12

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Thanks for all your help! One last question for a bit.. What is the flooring of the box? Would plywood rot and get yucky?
 

Cowboy_Ken

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Ultimately, plywood rots out. I use marine plywood and paint it with marine paint. Today, marine paint is lead free so none toxic once dried. Many folks here use vinyl linoleum to seal the floor.
 

Tom

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I don't quite understand what the difference is if the winter box was placed inside vs in the garage? You guys are saying the whole garage has to be heated, but if it was outside only the box would be heated, not the ground outside or the air?

I have a 4x8' heated box outside. Thats fine for over night sleeping, but not to live in year round, or even for a couple of months. My box opens up into their 7000 sq. ft. pen. This works for me because I live in a warm climate. We have 80-90 degree days year round. I couldn't do it this way if I lived in an area with snow in winter. So no, I don't heat the air or ground outside. The sun and my climate do it for me. Since you don't have that in winter, you will need to make a large heated area for your tortoises to roam and walk around in.
 

Tom

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[QUOTE="ducksarecool12, post: 964468, member: 9896"But winter housing boxes that many sulcata owners use are not that big at all, and its my understanding that they stay in these for most of the cold winter days, coming out to explore in the cold a few times a day? So if I had an area the size of one of these boxes that was warmed, and the rest of the garage being cold representing the outside, wouldn't it be the same?

When do your sulcatas start using their winter houses? Temp. wise.
[/QUOTE]

I don't have "winter" boxes. I have heated night boxes. They sleep in them year round. Even in summer with 110 degree days, my nights here still get cool. Usually in the 60s and sometimes in the 50s. They do spend an occasional rainy day or two in the boxes without coming out much, but most days here are warm and sunny year round. They don't live in their boxes.
 

Tom

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Do most sulcatas not get along? I haven't heard much of them not getting along, should I be worried when adding them and only put them together when I have all three?

Sulcatas can be very aggressive with each other. Especially two males, but even females will sometimes try to kill each other. They can get along in groups, but they don't always.

Also, if you put a male and two females together you will be swimming in eggs and babies. Do you want to spend 9 months a year digging up nests, incubating, soaking sunning and feeding a couple hundred babies? It is a lot of work, and you will need several large heated enclosures for all the babies. Do you have the contacts to move that kind of inventory. I'm not trying to talk you out of it. I just want to be sure you know what you are getting into.

70x100' is plenty big for three adults, but not when temps are cold. Its your winter housing that you have to figure out, and that is the challenge of keeping a giant active tropical species in a cold climate. It is why most people opt to keep other species that are more manageable in that sort of climate.
 

ducksarecool12

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Tom, I found your heated house and really like it! I think I'm going to attempt to make one similar, how has yours stood up and what would you have done differently or that you have done differently? How big is the door entrance?
 

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