Winter house for both Tortoises

Miles&Marvin

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This is my first post and I just want to thank everyone as I’ve learned so much from reading your other post. I have a one-year-old Sulcata and a 10-year-old Russian they live in my yard in Los Angeles and I would like to build them a winter house similar to a dog house I’m just wondering for the heat element Which is the best one to use a heat mat, a heat lamp, or a clay lamp? They do go outside every day and get natural sunshine I just want to keep the house at the correct temperature in the evenings when we cool down into the 40s thank you
 

Levi the Leopard

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Hi there,

I have never wanted to use a dog house because they aren't insulated enough to keep the warmth in. By the time you modify one to accommodate a tortoise, you might as well have made one from scratch. $$

I built a fully insulated "tortoise house" that is 4x4 and 2' tall. It's heated with a mini oil filled radiator plugged into a thermostat. I keep the thermostat set to 80F in the summer 86F in the winter. The seams are caulked, edges are sealed with weather stripping and it is protected from the elements with a shingled roof. The door is locked at night (with tortoise inside) and then opened again in the morning. I also have an LED light in there on a timer. Not for heat, just day/night cycles for my specific application here in the pacific northwest with colder winters.

I would suggest you do the same for your Sulcata.

Here is what mine looks like. Granted, it's about 6 years old now. It's experienced some wear and tear but it still works just as well as it did on day 1.
20201110_145701.jpg
20200419_174027.jpg
20220514_085023.jpg

If you search Tom's thread for his "heated night box" you'll find a detailed description on how to build it yourself.

I'll let a russian tortoise keeper answer the question for the other tort.
 

SinLA

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Welcome! Be prepared for an onslaught of information from people much more experienced and wiser than I. But you're going to get a lot of information which will tell you that the setup you have right now is not good for either tortoise, and it may take a fair amount of work, as well as some tough skin, to hear the information to best help them. One of the first things is that tortoises should not be housed in pairs, especially different species. Your Russian is going to come out on the bad end of that stick, and you might not recognize that before its too late. Behavior that may seem like "they get along great" isn't actually the case...

What part of LA are you in? I'm in the valley. It can make a big difference where you are as well...
 

Tom

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This is my first post and I just want to thank everyone as I’ve learned so much from reading your other post. I have a one-year-old Sulcata and a 10-year-old Russian they live in my yard in Los Angeles and I would like to build them a winter house similar to a dog house I’m just wondering for the heat element Which is the best one to use a heat mat, a heat lamp, or a clay lamp? They do go outside every day and get natural sunshine I just want to keep the house at the correct temperature in the evenings when we cool down into the 40s thank you
Hello and welcome to the forum.

These two tortoises need to be separated ASAP. Tortoises should NEVER be kept in pairs, and species should NEVER be mixed. These are two major problem causers and killers of tortoises for many people.

These two tortoises also have very different temperature, humidity and dietary needs. The one year old sulcata needs warm humid monsoon conditions, and unless is is over 8 inches, it should be living mostly indoors in a large closed chamber. Outdoors all day is great for adults, but not so good for babies. The 10 year old Russian needs warm days, but cool nights. Because of their completely different temperature needs, they can't share a box.

Here is the correct care info for each species. Most of what you find from pet shops, vets, and the entire internet, is all the same wrong info.


These care sheets will catch you up to speed, but questions are welcome. :)
 

Miles&Marvin

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Joined
Oct 28, 2022
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Hi there,

I have never wanted to use a dog house because they aren't insulated enough to keep the warmth in. By the time you modify one to accommodate a tortoise, you might as well have made one from scratch. $$

I built a fully insulated "tortoise house" that is 4x4 and 2' tall. It's heated with a mini oil filled radiator plugged into a thermostat. I keep the thermostat set to 80F in the summer 86F in the winter. The seams are caulked, edges are sealed with weather stripping and it is protected from the elements with a shingled roof. The door is locked at night (with tortoise inside) and then opened again in the morning. I also have an LED light in there on a timer. Not for heat, just day/night cycles for my specific application here in the pacific northwest with colder winters.

I would suggest you do the same for your Sulcata.

Here is what mine looks like. Granted, it's about 6 years old now. It's experienced some wear and tear but it still works just as well as it did on day 1.
View attachment 351257
View attachment 351256
View attachment 351258

If you search Tom's thread for his "heated night box" you'll find a detailed description on how to build it yourself.

I'll let a russian tortoise keeper answer the question for the other tort.
Thank you
Hi there,

I have never wanted to use a dog house because they aren't insulated enough to keep the warmth in. By the time you modify one to accommodate a tortoise, you might as well have made one from scratch. $$

I built a fully insulated "tortoise house" that is 4x4 and 2' tall. It's heated with a mini oil filled radiator plugged into a thermostat. I keep the thermostat set to 80F in the summer 86F in the winter. The seams are caulked, edges are sealed with weather stripping and it is protected from the elements with a shingled roof. The door is locked at night (with tortoise inside) and then opened again in the morning. I also have an LED light in there on a timer. Not for heat, just day/night cycles for my specific application here in the pacific northwest with colder winters.

I would suggest you do the same for your Sulcata.

Here is what mine looks like. Granted, it's about 6 years old now. It's experienced some wear and tear but it still works just as well as it did on day 1.
View attachment 351257
View attachment 351256
View attachment 351258

If you search Tom's thread for his "heated night box" you'll find a detailed description on how to build it yourself.

I'll let a russian tortoise keeper answer the question for the other tort.
Hi there,

I have never wanted to use a dog house because they aren't insulated enough to keep the warmth in. By the time you modify one to accommodate a tortoise, you might as well have made one from scratch. $$

I built a fully insulated "tortoise house" that is 4x4 and 2' tall. It's heated with a mini oil filled radiator plugged into a thermostat. I keep the thermostat set to 80F in the summer 86F in the winter. The seams are caulked, edges are sealed with weather stripping and it is protected from the elements with a shingled roof. The door is locked at night (with tortoise inside) and then opened again in the morning. I also have an LED light in there on a timer. Not for heat, just day/night cycles for my specific application here in the pacific northwest with colder winters.

I would suggest you do the same for your Sulcata.

Here is what mine looks like. Granted, it's about 6 years old now. It's experienced some wear and tear but it still works just as well as it did on day 1.
View attachment 351257
View attachment 351256
View attachment 351258

If you search Tom's thread for his "heated night box" you'll find a detailed description on how to build it yourself.

I'll let a russian tortoise keeper answer the question for the other tort.
M
Welcome! Be prepared for an onslaught of information from people much more experienced and wiser than I. But you're going to get a lot of information which will tell you that the setup you have right now is not good for either tortoise, and it may take a fair amount of work, as well as some tough skin, to hear the information to best help them. One of the first things is that tortoises should not be housed in pairs, especially different species. Your Russian is going to come out on the bad end of that stick, and you might not recognize that before its too late. Behavior that may seem like "they get along great" isn't actually the case...

What part of LA are you in? I'm in the valley. It can make a big difference where you are as well...
 

Miles&Marvin

New Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2022
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Los Angeles
Thank you


M
Hi Tom, I hanks for that. We live in Westwood right now Ucla. I have two separate houses and I am just insulating them now they will be on separate ends of the backyard which is rather large or they will I’m around together all day and that seems to be just fine
 

SinLA

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If they aren't physically separated, there's a high probably your Sulcata is going to kill your Russian. It could be fast and obvious, it also could be something slow and subtle you don't notice or don't 'realize' is bullying behavior. Its not something personally I would want to leave to luck and "hope" they get on well. Not if you love your Russian...
 

wellington

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If you want to keep both tortoises I suggest taking the advice given and seperate them or one will end up dead. Will not might!
 
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