Care During Severe Thunderstorm and Possibly Hail?

TemporaryTortMom

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May 29, 2021
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Oz
Hello all,
I'm currently babysitting an 11-year old Sulcata tortoise while his owner is out of town, so my knowledge is pretty limited. I want to give him the best care possible. Right now, I'm looking at a day of severe thunderstorms complete with strong gusts as well as hail. I've managed to keep him safe from three hailstorms in the last week since I was fortunately off of work at the time. Tomorrow is the exception. I have to work all day. I'm worried about keeping him in his shed with a heat lamp given the humidity has been high and it's Summer (around 43-83% humidity with temps ranging from 61-78 degrees during the day tomorrow). His shelter consists of: three heat lamps, a dogloo with blankets on top, hay to keep him warm, and a water bowl I keep filled with fresh water. Yesterday, we experienced 1.25" hail. What's the best way to navigate this upcoming issue so he is most comfortable? Should I allow his door to be cracked open to let air circulate or lock him up to ensure he isn't injured by the hail? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
Here is the shelter: IMG_20210528_180554892.jpg
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hello all,
I'm currently babysitting an 11-year old Sulcata tortoise while his owner is out of town, so my knowledge is pretty limited. I want to give him the best care possible. Right now, I'm looking at a day of severe thunderstorms complete with strong gusts as well as hail. I've managed to keep him safe from three hailstorms in the last week since I was fortunately off of work at the time. Tomorrow is the exception. I have to work all day. I'm worried about keeping him in his shed with a heat lamp given the humidity has been high and it's Summer (around 43-83% humidity with temps ranging from 61-78 degrees during the day tomorrow). His shelter consists of: three heat lamps, a dogloo with blankets on top, hay to keep him warm, and a water bowl I keep filled with fresh water. Yesterday, we experienced 1.25" hail. What's the best way to navigate this upcoming issue so he is most comfortable? Should I allow his door to be cracked open to let air circulate or lock him up to ensure he isn't injured by the hail? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!
Here is the shelter: View attachment 326132
That set up is ineffective, dangerous, possibly harmful to the tortoise, and a big fire hazard. I know that sounds mean, but its meant to inform you that you need to make some changes ASAP. Not trying to make you feel bad. Trying to save you from a terrible catastrophe.

Make a proper insulated and sealed tortoise box. Done right these are super efficient, use relatively little energy, they are completely safe, they keep the tortoise safe and comfortable, and they make the tortoise feel like its in a warm burrow. On days with terrible weather, you can leave the door shut and keep the tortoise in. I usually don't do that, and my tortoises have the sense to be where they ought to be, but I watch them closely. If ever I had golf ball sized hail dropping from the sky, I'd leave the door shut and keep the tortoise in for that day, or for those few hours until it passed.

Here are two different examples with two different heating strategies:

 

TemporaryTortMom

New Member
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Oz
That set up is ineffective, dangerous, possibly harmful to the tortoise, and a big fire hazard. I know that sounds mean, but its meant to inform you that you need to make some changes ASAP. Not trying to make you feel bad. Trying to save you from a terrible catastrophe.

Make a proper insulated and sealed tortoise box. Done right these are super efficient, use relatively little energy, they are completely safe, they keep the tortoise safe and comfortable, and they make the tortoise feel like its in a warm burrow. On days with terrible weather, you can leave the door shut and keep the tortoise in. I usually don't do that, and my tortoises have the sense to be where they ought to be, but I watch them closely. If ever I had golf ball sized hail dropping from the sky, I'd leave the door shut and keep the tortoise in for that day, or for those few hours until it passed.

Here are two different examples with two different heating strategies:

I'll inform their owner when they return from their trip. I had a feeling it was dangerous, but yet again I'm not a tortoise owner, just babysitting. Would I need to do anything to keep him warm without using a heat lamp? There's a bin of hay in the storage room which I could add more of in his shed. Is that enough?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
54,479
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I'll inform their owner when they return from their trip. I had a feeling it was dangerous, but yet again I'm not a tortoise owner, just babysitting. Would I need to do anything to keep him warm without using a heat lamp? There's a bin of hay in the storage room which I could add more of in his shed. Is that enough?
Hay does nothing for a cold-blooded animal. It acts as insulation for animals that generate their own heat. It holds the warmth they are making close to their body and prevents some heat loss. A tortoise gets its heat externally, so the hay doesn't do anything.
 

TemporaryTortMom

New Member
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
4
Location (City and/or State)
Oz
Hay does nothing for a cold-blooded animal. It acts as insulation for animals that generate their own heat. It holds the warmth they are making close to their body and prevents some heat loss. A tortoise gets its heat externally, so the hay doesn't do anything.
Thank you for commenting and the previous heating advice. I'd implement those ideas, however I'm at work well past the time pet stores close, so getting the items are going to be difficult. I'll be keeping the door to his shelter shut tomorrow to keep him safe. If there's a break in the weather, I'll send someone to keep an eye on the temperature in his house.
 
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