Desert Tortoise doesn't use burrow.

Zwaga89

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I adopted a desert tortoise in April from the state of arizona. When designing the burrow I used the cinder block model and made sure to have at least 6 in of dirt all over the burrow. I have a temperature gauge inside the burrow so I know it does not exceed 90° even with it getting hotter out. Problem is my "sub adult" tortoise does not use the burrow on his own. He prefers to be dug in under one of our bushes which I guess is probably fine but as temperatures start to rise into the hundreds I'm worried this might not be a cool enough spot for him. He has plenty of shade there and there is no sunlight that gets to the spot where he has nested but I feel the ambient Air temperature would still be in excess of 90°. My question is; should I relocate to him to his burrow on really hot days, or should I trust that he will know when it is too hot to lie underneath the bush and will instead go into the burrow?

He has gone in the borough on his own a couple of times but for whatever reason he does not seem to prefer to sleep in there.
 

wellington

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Temp the under bush area at the hottest time of day and then temp the hide. If bushes are actually cooler then that's why he is there. The bushes will get more air flow then a block hide so there may be a reason for it. If it does end up hotter then the hide, then I would move him into the hide until he gets it.
 

Yvonne G

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The trouble with a human making the burrow is instinct tells the tortoise where to make his burrow. Humans don't have the same instinct. Where in the yard did you make the burrow? Is it on higher ground? Is it under a tree? Show us pictures and maybe we can help you figure it out.
 

Zwaga89

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I'll start with that. What would be too hot for the bush? 90 and up?
Temp the under bush area at the hottest time of day and then temp the hide. If bushes are actually cooler then that's why he is there. The bushes will get more air flow then a block hide so there may be a reason for it. If it does end up hotter then the hide, then I would move him into the hide until he gets it.
 

wellington

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I'll start with that. What would be too hot for the bush? 90 and up?
I don't really know. But trying to figure it out. A basking temp is 95 and if I remember correctly a burrow that some has temped that have sulcatas were like 80.
If it were me, not knowing what their lowest burrow temps in AZ is, I would want to try to get a hide/burrow to 80 85 the highest.
However, whatever the bush measures as long as its lower then the hide, then that's why he is going to the bush and that same temp or lower is what you would want to try and get the hide, if that makes sense to you.
 

wellington

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A tarp, umbrella or shade cloth over the hide or bush would help lower the temp by at least 5 degrees if not a lot more.
Being under my friends patio roof in AZ is a lot cooler then not being under it.
 

Zwaga89

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A tarp, umbrella or shade cloth over the hide or bush would help lower the temp by at least 5 degrees if not a lot more.
Being under my friends patio roof in AZ is a lot cooler then not being under it.
I appreciate your help! I'll try and do some work on the bush burrow as well. It's pretty well shaded as is but if it's going to be his preferred spot then I should probably do what I can to make it more comfortable.
 

Zwaga89

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The trouble with a human making the burrow is instinct tells the tortoise where to make his burrow. Humans don't have the same instinct. Where in the yard did you make the burrow? Is it on higher ground? Is it under a tree? Show us pictures and maybe we can help you figure it out.
It's both higher ground and under a tree. I picked the spot because water should flow Around the entrance and not into it. He's used it before, but he definitely prefers the bush. I'll move him into the burrow sometimes and he'll either stay for a bit or leave and wander the enclosure or go back to the bush. Is there anything I could do inside the burrow to maybe make it cosier, like the area under the bush?
 

Tom

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It's both higher ground and under a tree. I picked the spot because water should flow Around the entrance and not into it. He's used it before, but he definitely prefers the bush. I'll move him into the burrow sometimes and he'll either stay for a bit or leave and wander the enclosure or go back to the bush. Is there anything I could do inside the burrow to maybe make it cosier, like the area under the bush?
We need to see pics of the area.

Also, if its getting 90 in there already, you might need to improve the design. That's too hot and its not even that hot yet. Start a burrow where you want it with a shovel and let him dig his own burrow. Just don't let him stay down there in fall.
 

Zwaga89

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We need to see pics of the area.

Also, if its getting 90 in there already, you might need to improve the design. That's too hot and its not even that hot yet. Start a burrow where you want it with a shovel and let him dig his own burrow. Just don't let him stay down there in fall.
The inside is about 3'x3'.
 

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Tom

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The inside is about 3'x3'.
The front is too open and it doesn't go deep enough to get to cooler earth. Essentially, you've created some nice shade, but the hot surface air will heat that up lickety split.
 

Zwaga89

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The front is too open and it doesn't go deep enough to get to cooler earth. Essentially, you've created some nice shade, but the hot surface air will heat that up lickety split.
Okay. So I'll dig deeper in the inside of the burrow and maybe place a 2x4 across the entrance to reduce the opening size.

Thanks!
 
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