Leopard tortoise and 115+ heat

Boiddude

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Dec 16, 2020
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I have a leopard tortoise that is 10 years old. She's been outside for about a month now. The heat has been around 115 for the last couple of days and will continue till Sunday. She has an elevated wood enclosure with 4" of mulch\coconut\moss mixture. There is a lid on 3\4 of the enclosure. She also has a planter bottom as a place to soak with at least an 1 1\2 of water to soak in. I spray down the substrate in the morning to soak it. Should this be ok for her to handle the heat? I'm trying to find a hide still but no luck at my local stores for the appropriate
Size Rubbermaid for her. Should I be taking her inside on these excessive heat days and just sit in a tray in my tub?
 

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Neal

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What are the dimensions of the enclosure? Are we seeing the whole enclosure in this picture? It's hard to determine the scale of things from the picture.

This could work as a temporary set-up...but this is not the best permanent solution in my opinion. I emphasize "could work" because it would take a lot of additional effort and oversight on your part. The tortoise overheating is a major risk, and needs constant attention in order to mitigate.

I am in-between houses right now. Actually, I just moved to Mesa from Chandler. All of my medium-sized tortoises are in 55 gallon Rubbermaid tubs. They are kept outside, but are underneath large bushes and trees that always have shade and are kept on the east side of the house which will always get the first afternoon shade. I've also hooked up automatic watering systems to keep the substrate moist. There is someone at the home 24/7 and they will only be set-up like this for a couple of months. The biggest risk I see with keeping these tubs (or small enclosures with tall sides like yours) outside in the heat is minimal airflow and heat retention. Keeping the soil moist is critical. Judging from your picture, your tortoises enclosure is too dry. There are other health concerns besides maintaining temperature that will result from keeping an enclosure too dry. Read through the countless threads on this forum that detail pyramiding and pyramiding prevention if you have not already.

If your enclosure is only temporary for your tortoise, then try to follow what I've described above if you can. Shade and moisture are your friends. If you're thinking of this as a permanent solution, I would highly recommend seeking out other options. A sub-adult/adult leopard tortoise the size of yours would greatly benefit from a true outdoor ground level enclosure with plenty of space to graze and roam. Opinions differ, but I wouldn't recommend anything less than 144 square feet (12'*12') for a single sub-adult/adult leopard tortoise.
 

Boiddude

New Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
15
Location (City and/or State)
Chandler
What are the dimensions of the enclosure? Are we seeing the whole enclosure in this picture? It's hard to determine the scale of things from the picture.

This could work as a temporary set-up...but this is not the best permanent solution in my opinion. I emphasize "could work" because it would take a lot of additional effort and oversight on your part. The tortoise overheating is a major risk, and needs constant attention in order to mitigate.

I am in-between houses right now. Actually, I just moved to Mesa from Chandler. All of my medium-sized tortoises are in 55 gallon Rubbermaid tubs. They are kept outside, but are underneath large bushes and trees that always have shade and are kept on the east side of the house which will always get the first afternoon shade. I've also hooked up automatic watering systems to keep the substrate moist. There is someone at the home 24/7 and they will only be set-up like this for a couple of months. The biggest risk I see with keeping these tubs (or small enclosures with tall sides like yours) outside in the heat is minimal airflow and heat retention. Keeping the soil moist is critical. Judging from your picture, your tortoises enclosure is too dry. There are other health concerns besides maintaining temperature that will result from keeping an enclosure too dry. Read through the countless threads on this forum that detail pyramiding and pyramiding prevention if you have not already.

If your enclosure is only temporary for your tortoise, then try to follow what I've described above if you can. Shade and moisture are your friends. If you're thinking of this as a permanent solution, I would highly recommend seeking out other options. A sub-adult/adult leopard tortoise the size of yours would greatly benefit from a true outdoor ground level enclosure with plenty of space to graze and roam. Opinions differ, but I wouldn't recommend anything less than 144 square feet (12'*12') for a single sub-adult/adult leopard tortoise.
This is only temporary but will be for at least a year till I remove all of the rock and get her other enclosure built along with power added to it since it will be at the back of my yard. The substrate in that picture was before I started soaking it so I have been soaking it in the morning and when I get home from work. The enclosure is about 5' by 4'.

I am looking for a misting system like you mentioned but I have to be careful since the box is wood with a spray on liner material (it dried for 4 months before she went into it). I am looking for a container instead of one hooked up to a hose that is constantly running. So far no luck with finding something like that.

Yesterday she was just fully soaking in her water dish when usually she just has her foot in it. I put her in a plastic tub that is about 2'x1.5' and put a little water in it and put it in my bathtub from 5 to about 8pm when it got down to about 110. She went back into her enclosure and I soaked the substrate again. She does get sun for about an hour at 6-7. The whole enclosure is under my patio so she is protected from the sun during that time. The part of the enclosure that has the lid on it does have some small 6"x3" gaps in it at the sides to allow some airflow when she is back in the corner that she likes as seen in the picture.
 

Neal

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Do you have a temperature gauge that can read the temperatures in the enclosure? There should be a spot in her enclosure that will stay in the mid 80's at least to help her regulate her body temperature. If you can achieve that, you'd be in a lot better shape to get through the heat.
 

Boiddude

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Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Chandler
Do you have a temperature gauge that can read the temperatures in the enclosure? There should be a spot in her enclosure that will stay in the mid 80's at least to help her regulate her body temperature. If you can achieve that, you'd be in a lot better shape to get through the heat.
I purchased a wifi one that will be here in a few days that does temperature and humidity. We have one for a frog of ours and it works well.
 
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