Aldabra Moving To Colder Climate Help

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OperaticAddict

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Hello All!

My mother has lived in Miami, FL for almost 40 years & has always kept tortoises. Three years ago I stumbled across a poorly kept yearling Aldabra & offered to take it off the owners hands. It was probably the best gift I could have ever gotten my mother; we named him Mortimer. After many years of Miami living & raising four boys she has decided to sell her property & move back home to Daufuskie Island off of South Carolina. Average annual temperature is 65ºF and annual precipitation is 49.4 inches. Temperatures in August can run into the 90's and lows in winter may reach 20 degrees. When a winter front passes through, the temperatures usually bounce back to the high 60's or low 70's within a couple of days. She has asked me to try & find information on keeping an adult Aldabra in colder climate. She is willing to go to about any lengths for Mortimer so we were wondering what would make up an ideal habitat for our friend when she moves back to SC? Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

Yours Truly,
OperaticAddict
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Laura

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he will need a VERY large insulated outdoor barn/shed area. Think Zoo type enclosure.
not to mention a very large yard to graze in on good days.
Look up Tuff Sheds.. the Loafing shed is great.. indoor outdoor covered area.. but you might have to go bigger...
 

OperaticAddict

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Laura said:
he will need a VERY large insulated outdoor barn/shed area. Think Zoo type enclosure.
not to mention a very large yard to graze in on good days.
Look up Tuff Sheds.. the Loafing shed is great.. indoor outdoor covered area.. but you might have to go bigger...

Thanx Laura!
How big should the shed be & will she have to keep him in there all winter? What sort of lights & heating elements should she have in the shed? In Miami it never gets cold enough for it to matter.
 

Laura

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how big is he now?
do you have pictures?
will she have space where she is moving?
depends on the weather.. if he has to stay inside, it has to be heated and large or it isnt fair to him..
 

OperaticAddict

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Laura said:
how big is he now?
do you have pictures?
will she have space where she is moving?
depends on the weather.. if he has to stay inside, it has to be heated and large or it isnt fair to him..

I think he is about the size of a turkey platter now. I live in NYC so I will take some pictures the next time I am down visiting Miami. The property in SC will have more than enough space for her to build whatever he needs, but her goal is to make the enclosure big enough so that it will be comfortable for him when he's fully grown. Just trying to figure out the size of the enclosure, if it should be made of stone, brick, wood, chain link, what kind of supplies she needs in the shed for the winter & how should she adapt his routine when she moves. We are trying to figure alt this out & set it up before she moves to make it easier on Mortimer.
 

Yvonne G

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Hi OperaticAddict:

Welcome to the forum!!

May we know your name?

I have two 11 year old Aldabran tortoises and I live in Central California. Our winters are pretty cold, but no snow. The nights are consistently down in the lower 30's and the days usually around 50 sometimes in the 40's.

Here's where my tortoise live:



It's 8'x8' and very well insulated.



Each tortoise has his own pig blanket and there's enough room on the floor for them to get off the pad if it should get too hot.

My tortoises come out and graze even on the coldest days.
 

OperaticAddict

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emysemys said:
Hi OperaticAddict:

Welcome to the forum!!

May we know your name?

I have two 11 year old Aldabran tortoises and I live in Central California. Our winters are pretty cold, but no snow. The nights are consistently down in the lower 30's and the days usually around 50 sometimes in the 40's.

Here's where my tortoise live:



It's 8'x8' and very well insulated.



Each tortoise has his own pig blanket and there's enough room on the floor for them to get off the pad if it should get too hot.

My tortoises come out and graze even on the coldest days.

Thanx Yvonne! My name is Daniel & the Aldabra is Mortimer. Do you have to heard them in & out depending on the temperature or do you just leave the door open & they go in & out as they see fit? I also know that she is planning on building him a water feature outside, but do you also provide them with water inside the shed? How warm does it get in the shed or the pig blankets? Sorry for all the questions, but our goal is to make this really nice for him! :D
 

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Hi Daniel:

No, they go outside and graze and when they get cold, they go back in on their own. I don't have water in the shed because they can go outside to get a drink. The pig blankets are at about 80 degrees, but they are on a rheostat and I make it warmer or cooler depending upon how cold the night is going to be. The ambient air inside the shed is also around 75 to 80 degrees.
 

Turtulas-Len

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Hello Daniel,I don't have an aldabra but I have a 15 year old sulcata that I keep along the Potomac River in Virginia. We sometimes get into the single digit temps during winter, but they don't usually last long.I built a 8x8 house like Yvonne but it is short in height which makes it easier to heat because heat rises. I have the same type of heat pad 3x4 ft, which is all I need to use most of the time, but just in case I have a CHE in the center top, and copper tubing run through the entire floor area which will circulate hot water,Haven't needed the hot water yet.I have a small exhaust fan at the back near the top for air circulation. all the walls, ceiling,and floor are 6 inches thick, packed with styrofoam and fiberglass insulation.I have been thinking about getting a large 6ft tall dog run to put around the house and wrapping the whole thing in poly to use like a green house during winter. Len
 

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Laura said:
that is very cool! perfect!! does the roof hinge up for easy cleaning?
No, If you look real close on the left side of the roof is a hoe for cleaning,I forgot to mention that it has a finished water proof floor.I do have to mop it out every now and then. Len
 

OperaticAddict

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emysemys said:
Hi Daniel:

No, they go outside and graze and when they get cold, they go back in on their own. I don't have water in the shed because they can go outside to get a drink. The pig blankets are at about 80 degrees, but they are on a rheostat and I make it warmer or cooler depending upon how cold the night is going to be. The ambient air inside the shed is also around 75 to 80 degrees.

Thanx...Very Helpful!


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??Len?? said:
Hello Daniel,I don't have an aldabra but I have a 15 year old sulcata that I keep along the Potomac River in Virginia. We sometimes get into the single digit temps during winter, but they don't usually last long.I built a 8x8 house like Yvonne but it is short in height which makes it easier to heat because heat rises. I have the same type of heat pad 3x4 ft, which is all I need to use most of the time, but just in case I have a CHE in the center top, and copper tubing run through the entire floor area which will circulate hot water,Haven't needed the hot water yet.I have a small exhaust fan at the back near the top for air circulation. all the walls, ceiling,and floor are 6 inches thick, packed with styrofoam and fiberglass insulation.I have been thinking about getting a large 6ft tall dog run to put around the house and wrapping the whole thing in poly to use like a green house during winter. Len

Thanx Len for the help! Does your
Sulcata still come out & graze during the winter when it's in the single digits or does he/she stay in the hut?

[hr]
??Len?? said:
Laura said:
that is very cool! perfect!! does the roof hinge up for easy cleaning?
No, If you look real close on the left side of the roof is a hoe for cleaning,I forgot to mention that it has a finished water proof floor.I do have to mop it out every now and then. Len

Len- Do you find that your Sulcata drinks more living in colder climate? I have an Indian star here with me in NYC. When I lived in Miami the Star never ever went near his water dish except to poop in it...now he drinks so much I have to fill it daily during winter months. My vet here said that in lower humidity, especially with the central heating here in the city, tortoises that normally get their water from the veggies also need extra hydration. Have you noticed this with your Sulcata?
Here's a pic of Absolem:
 

Turtulas-Len

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Danial,Absolem is a handsome fella, looks to be about 6 inches, how old is he? Walker will come out and graze if the temps are in the mid to upper 30s and the sun is out.But he sometimes will stay in if it is cloudy and in the upper 40s to low 50s. If he does come out on cold days he don't stay long, right back in to warm up. As for the water drinking, he has never been a big drinker, I have always had some kind of water source for him to access since he was a hatchling but he was several years old before I saw him take a drink, there are several places for him to get a drink and or soak in the yard but he chooses to drink from one of the dogs water bowls but still not very often. He does have a short tunnel on the back side of his house that stays moist and that is where he sleeps in summer. Len
 

OperaticAddict

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??Len?? said:
Danial,Absolem is a handsome fella, looks to be about 6 inches, how old is he? Walker will come out and graze if the temps are in the mid to upper 30s and the sun is out.But he sometimes will stay in if it is cloudy and in the upper 40s to low 50s. If he does come out on cold days he don't stay long, right back in to warm up. As for the water drinking, he has never been a big drinker, I have always had some kind of water source for him to access since he was a hatchling but he was several years old before I saw him take a drink, there are several places for him to get a drink and or soak in the yard but he chooses to drink from one of the dogs water bowls but still not very often. He does have a short tunnel on the back side of his house that stays moist and that is where he sleeps in summer. Len

You have good eyes...he is 5 inches long. I am not sure exactly how old he is. I bought him from a pet shop in Miami that was just trying to get rid of him. He had a bad respiratory infection & was super thin. After a good bit of TLC & a hefty vet bill he recovered. He was that size when I got him three years ago & the pet shop had no idea how old he might be. My vet suggested he might be wild caught due to the staggering amount & variety of parasites he was carrying around with him when I got him. Your guess is as good as mine... :tort:
 
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