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Pig blanket and enclosures

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by allegraf, Oct 29, 2009.

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  1. allegraf

    allegraf Active Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    My husband and I recently bought a pig blanket (Kane heat mat 27"x48"), we are planning on building something to house the pig blanket and the torts this weekend. We have about 10 cherryheads that need a warm place to stay when the weather gets cold. We are luckily in South Florida so it is still hot down here. I have a few questions,

    1. What is a good thermostat/regulator for the mat?
    2. I read that since we are in florida, we should not put the mat on the floor as it attracts red ants (which I hate), do you attach the mat to the roof of the enclosure or the side? If it should be on the ceiling, how high up should it be?
    3. How would you attach it safely?
    4. Would one of the plastic sheds be safe? I saw Yvonne's CBS building and am also considering something along those lines. Any other suggestions would be welcome.

    Thanks.

    Allegra
  2. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer Staff Member

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    I had to laugh at your first sentence, "...we're planning to build something to house the pig blanket..." I had an image of this well-cared for pig blanket, with his own water dish and a pile of food in front of him!

    Bear in mind that the heat pad only heats itself. What heat comes off of it just "drifts" off. If the animal isn't actually sitting on the pad, then he has to be pretty close next to it to gain any warmth from it. So I would think mounting it on the wall close to floor level would be best. If you put it on the ceiling, as heat rises, I doubt the heat would drift down to the floor. You DO get SOME heating of the air inside the enclosure from the pad, but if its VERY cold, the cold overcomes the heat.

    I am also plagued by red ants. When I first started building all the sheds, first thing I did after smoothing out the sand for the sub-floor was drench the floor/dirt with the strongest ant killer I could find...one that had a residual effect. Then I put the cement stepping stones on the sand, then the rubber horse stall mat. So far those pesky little buggers haven't come up through the cement, but I'm sure after a season or two, when the poison wears away, they'll come in seeking the heat. When that happens, I use Orange Guard to deter them. Orange Guard is safe to use around children and pets, and while its not the most effective ant killer, it does deter them and make them go to a different location.

    Yvonne
  3. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    My hubby just bought some Wireless Temperature Stations. You put the one in the tort house and the other half you can place outside of it, its says up to 300 feet away.. to check the inside heat...
    They so far seem to work well. $17 at Frys.
    www.lacrossetechnology.com/9121it
    My heat pads seem to heat the air in a small area pretty well. Ground level..
  4. t_mclellan

    t_mclellan New Member

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    Here is a post I wrote for another forum on this subject.
    My blankets came with controls.
    Most don't but the manufacturer usually recommends 1 or 2.
    I should add that mine are now enclosed in a raised base to the hooch or hide. This keeps them out of the water when it rains.
    Also I have never had a problem with ants around my mats.
    FWIW.



    Re: Redfoots... outside for the winter... in Florida?
    « Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 08:34:29 PM »

    ________________________________________
    I live in Palm Beach & I have adult Redfoots that stay outside all year with the exception of hurricanes.
    Small Redfoots (under 6") I tend to bring in if the temp. is dropping below 60.
    My adults have a large mulch pile that some will dig into in cool weather & they also have electric "Pig Blankets' buried under there hides for the ones that don't want to dig. These blankets keep the inside of the hid as much as 30 degrees warmer than the outside. You set the range. mine turn on at 55 degrees outside & are set not to exceed 70 inside.
    The controls that come with the blanket are 2 dials both numbered 1-10 & that's not much help with temp's so I have an indoor / outdoor thermometer. The readout is on the outside of the hid & the probe is inside. with this the low temp & high temp dials on the blanket control can be calibrated ( it will still take you about 2 days to get them right)
    Anyway .... the blankets run about $200 & are 2 ft x 3 ft. Needless to say I don't use them for small size or numbers of tortoises. The mulch pile also needs to be about 10 cubic ft. in order to keep a constant temp. small tortoises can be hard to find. (trust me on this)

    Well I think that was a long drawn out answer to a very simple question don't you?
    I could have just said its easier to bring them inside under 60.

    I hope this helps
  5. allegraf

    allegraf Active Member

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    Thanks for all the good advice. We have always brought our torts inside when it drops below 60 but now we have 11 adults ( I forgot one in the earlier post), 7 sub adults and 20 hatchlings. My house got a bit fresh when they were all inside. The subs and hatchlings will still come inside, but I wanted to do something for the adults. They hate coming inside and sitting in the kiddie pool.

    T: Do you put the pig blanket directly on the ground under the hide or buried under the mulch or do you have a floor like Yvonne?

    Thanks.

    Allegra

    PS Yvonne, I want my pig blanket to be happy too!
  6. t_mclellan

    t_mclellan New Member

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    Originally I had them buried about 6" deep. I never had a problem that way. I just thought that in time water would find a way to make things exciting.
    Now they are inside the floor.
    Another thing is that my Brazilians hardly use the hooch in the winter. If the temps are over 40 mine are mostly outside. They walk around almost all day grazing. My Colombians are not very active when it gets below 50 outside they come out at mid day. Then back inside well before sundown.
    Some have told me there Brazilians act similar to mine, & others said there's are not active at cooler temps.
    Do mine act the same at 40F as at 80F? Not by a long shot!
    They are active & will feed at temps that my Colombians wont even attempt.
    (Then again mine might have been devising a clever escape plan!
    A tortoise would never go over the wall at 40F!)
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