Building my enclosure

EllyMae

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Mar 15, 2020
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Shellman, GA
I have almost finished building my enclosure for my new (not yet to be found) adult sulcata.
I'm using roofing tin a foot in the ground & two foot above. I'm even harvesting some lumber from a 135 year old tenant house.
The pen is 84'x24'. The house is 3x5x3.

(My horse enjoyed *helping*)


IMG_0794[1].JPG IMG_0795[1].JPG
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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NIce. Make sure that house is well insulated, and sealed with silicone to keep the drafts down. How will you heat it? Already got power out there?
 

EllyMae

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Shellman, GA
NIce. Make sure that house is well insulated, and sealed with silicone to keep the drafts down. How will you heat it? Already got power out there?
We have an electric outlet not far away we use to power the horse's electric fence. The plan is to extend that line on the same breaker. I plan on heating the enclosure with a heat lamp on a thermostat. The insulation plan is outside of the enclosure 3/8in plywood, then 1/2in foam insulation, then inside another sheet of 3/8in plywood. The top (a door from the tenant house) sits at an angle, to allow water to go off, which leaves triangles open on the sides. My plan is to leave those open during the summer and mostly close them with window foam insulation during the winter.
I have already started sealing!
I plan on having a few bags of cypress mulch in the bottom of the enclosure.

The tortoise door will be a hole in the wood, with the plastic sheeting with slits, so that sould give some circulation.
Does all of that sound good?
 

Tom

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Does all of that sound good?
Mostly good!

  • Heat lamps are no good for larger tortoises. They will burn the top of the carapace and still not allow the tortoise to warm its core enough. There are two good ways to heat it. 1. Use a mini radiant oil filled heater. These can be found for about $40. Use a separate thermostat to control it, as the built in one on the unit will not hold a steady temp and cannot be trusted. 2. Use a Kane mat on bottom and a radiant heat panel overhead. Same thermostat to control both. I like this thermostat, and its cheap: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
  • I use 1.5 inch insulation. I'm not sure 1/2 will do it. Your thermometer will answer this question, but do test it BEFORE you get the tortoise. I work in GA regularly and you guys get some cold weather in winter sometimes.
  • I would close the triangles. It will keep all that southern rain out. In winter it will keep the heat in, and in summer, having it closed will keep the heat out.
Here is some box building info:
 

EllyMae

New Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
Shellman, GA
Mostly good!

  • Heat lamps are no good for larger tortoises. They will burn the top of the carapace and still not allow the tortoise to warm its core enough. There are two good ways to heat it. 1. Use a mini radiant oil filled heater. These can be found for about $40. Use a separate thermostat to control it, as the built in one on the unit will not hold a steady temp and cannot be trusted. 2. Use a Kane mat on bottom and a radiant heat panel overhead. Same thermostat to control both. I like this thermostat, and its cheap: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller
  • I use 1.5 inch insulation. I'm not sure 1/2 will do it. Your thermometer will answer this question, but do test it BEFORE you get the tortoise. I work in GA regularly and you guys get some cold weather in winter sometimes.
  • I would close the triangles. It will keep all that southern rain out. In winter it will keep the heat in, and in summer, having it closed will keep the heat out.
Here is some box building info:

Thanks so much for your help! I'll beef up the insulation & change to an oil heater.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Thanks so much for your help! I'll beef up the insulation & change to an oil heater.
I hope you find a great tortoise!

I'd plant a mulberry tree or two in there for summer shade.
 

EllyMae

New Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Messages
24
Location (City and/or State)
Shellman, GA
That's the plan, but I haven't been able to locate any locally. I guess I will have to buy online. I have a couple of hibiscus bushes to plant. Also, I was going to nail a pallet leaned up to one of the 4x4s to give another shade spot.
 

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