My Best Night Box Design Yet

ascott

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Tom....so, I am going to sound really girlie and all here....but how many black widows have you encountered with these boxes....they are my most horrid least favorite critter on earth....:p

One other thing that is making me crazy...is that a metal yellow Tonka dump truck or one of the newer plastic ones.....I know, dumb. But just want to know :D
 

lynnedit

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First of all, Angela, you're funny.
Secondly, that is just a fantastic design and definitely benefits from your trying various styles. I agree about it being stickied.

Team Gomberg said:
what purpose do the bricks around the box serve?
Protect the paint?
 

Tom

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Cowboy_Ken said:
Looks almost as great as me Tom. That's a fantastic design/thread and I think it should be stickied for future reference for those folks that just gotta have that cute little baby.
Have you made a second one as a guest room for me yet?

Ha! You play your cards right and I might actually let you sleep in the spare bedroom in the house. And while you are here, I might be able to arrange a Zoo tour. I know a guy on the inside... :p


Team Gomberg said:
what purpose do the bricks around the box serve?

The ground is not level where the box sits. There are flat 2x4s on the bottom of the box to keep it a little off the ground. I wanted the box to sit level so I had to put a second flat 2x4 under the downhill side. This made a pretty big gap under that side and I didn't want any tortoises try to squeeze under the box. That's why there are only bricks on that side.


ascott said:
Tom....so, I am going to sound really girlie and all here....but how many black widows have you encountered with these boxes....they are my most horrid least favorite critter on earth....:p

One other thing that is making me crazy...is that a metal yellow Tonka dump truck or one of the newer plastic ones.....I know, dumb. But just want to know :D

They are all over the place up here, but I can't recall ever finding one inside one of these boxes. I find an occasional daddy long legs spider inside, but no Black Widows.

The Tonka truck IS in fact a real live metal version from the mid 70's that I used to play with when I was just a little boy. Now my daughter plays with them, and she is just as rough on them as I ever was. You just don't see quality like that anymore, do ya?
 

goReptiles

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I love the little dogs out by the house. This is a great design. I may have to try something like this out. How did you seal the wood before adding the insulation; what did you use?
 

Turtulas-Len

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Looks Great, you know how I feel about insulation, you can never have to much of it. One thing that may make the heater work more efficient would be to drill some holes in the barrier surrounding it to allow for more air circulation through the heater from the bottom, just make sure the holes are small, so the tortoises can't get their heads stuck.
 

spikethebest

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WOW! Looks like another great project designed, built, and implemented by Tom. Wish I was there to help build it. Can't wait to see it sometime!!
 

Tom

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goReptiles said:
I love the little dogs out by the house. This is a great design. I may have to try something like this out. How did you seal the wood before adding the insulation; what did you use?

I used plain silicone sealant around all the seams. When it dries it is totally inert and waterproof. The wood itself is just plain untreated plywood. I don't use any paint or sealer of any kind inside. The outside has primer and two coats of paint.


Len said:
Looks Great, you know how I feel about insulation, you can never have to much of it. One thing that may make the heater work more efficient would be to drill some holes in the barrier surrounding it to allow for more air circulation through the heater from the bottom, just make sure the holes are small, so the tortoises can't get their heads stuck.

Not a bad idea. There is a small gap around the bottom, but I didn't want to leave too much space for hay or any other debris to work its way in there. Some quarter inch holes would probably fit the bill well.
 

Team Gomberg

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ascott said:
Tom....so, I am going to sound really girlie and all here....but how many black widows have you encountered with these boxes....they are my most horrid least favorite critter on earth....:p

you'd hate my area!

we have a major black and brown widow problem. i've been killing them off every night when i lock the russian in his night box. 9 one night, 7 the next, etc... its awful!

i've never seen one inside my box either...
 

jjsull33

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if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?
 

theelectraco

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jjsull33 said:
if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?

Heat should be on the floor.
 

jjsull33

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theelectraco said:
jjsull33 said:
if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?

Heat should be on the floor.

should it be between the boards with the insulation, or right on the floor where they are?
 

theelectraco

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If heat is going to be on the floor, there should be an unheated section the tortoise can go to I case it overheats or is too warm. I *think* it should be over the wood, in the insulation wouldn't heat the box very much, but I would see if anyone has a second opinion, and whether heat rope is even a good option.
 

lynnedit

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I built a small wood hide for my Russians. There just wasn't a small enough Radiant heat panel for my size, and you don't use mats for small torts, as far as I understand.
I used heat cable, about 2 runs of cable around the sides and on about 1/3 of the floor. You can use duct tape or electric tape to hold the cable in place. I have a shingled, removable roof with a small plexiglass skylight (that may be overkill :rolleyes: ).
I made a small notch along the top of a corner wall for the cable to exit.
It goes into a small tupperware container (like Tom uses) to connect to the thermostat and this sits in a protected area outside the enclosure, (probe from thermostat goes back into the enclosure along a lower part of the wall). Of course, you could put the container inside as well, but mine doesn't have a lot of height.
Then you can use smaller gauge plastic or galvanized wire stapled over it to secure it. I did this because Russians are diggers and will mess ANYTHING up!
Then I put in some gravel over the heat cable area on the ground, which sort of embeds in the wire over the cable on the ground and secures it further.
I use 3-4 inches of aspen in my hide; drier but safe for torts. But I live in the PNW where it is moister spring and fall.
(dry in the summer, but they don't use it then, they sleep in hides outside in the soil).
I have been very happy with the set up, it maintains a nice steady background temp.


Waterproof heat cable, excellent product:
http://www.bigappleherp.com/Big-Apple-Flexible-Heat-Ropes

Some use the Hydor heat cable and I hear good reports as well.


Hope this is still 'on topic' enough!!!! :O
 

Tom

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jjsull33 said:
if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?

This question is outside my area of expertise. When I think about the things I DO know, I would not use heat cables for a Russian tortoises outside enclosure. I'd use a small heat mat that only covered part of the floor or I'd use a RHP like Lynnedit suggested.

Here in SoCal, my Russian boxes will have no heat, but that will be another thread... :)
 

jjsull33

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Tom said:
jjsull33 said:
if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?

This question is outside my area of expertise. When I think about the things I DO know, I would not use heat cables for a Russian tortoises outside enclosure. I'd use a small heat mat that only covered part of the floor or I'd use a RHP like Lynnedit suggested.

Here in SoCal, my Russian boxes will have no heat, but that will be another thread... :)

I wish I didn't need a heated house, but while looking up average night temperatures in Denver for the summer I found that it averages in the high 50s at night even though the days are hot. So since I want to leave them outside all summer I will need to make one for them. (last summer they came inside at night, this year I want to fix up and redo the indoor enclosures so they have more room this winter, keeping them out of it will give me more time to finish without worrying about sealants and smells and the like)

I was going to put 4 doors on it as well, with a dividing wall inside so that it has 4 sections in case they need to be separate they will all still have a heated hide and I wont need 4 separate set ups. I will just have it be the central point of the enclosure.

By the way your design looks great, thanks for showing how you did it.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Tom, approximately what was the cost of this project, namely the wood materials and RHP? I'm looking to something large enough for 2-3 adult redfoots and then another for a single sulcata. What dimensions (especially for the sulcata) would you suggest?
 

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Wow, where do u live that u have such problems, cant u spray somethings to kill rhe spiders... Poor little torts... U sould be also careful!

And tom, i love it, and im sure the torts love it the most!

Sent from my ZTE N9120 using TortForum mobile app
 

lynnedit

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jjsull33 said:
if I make a smaller version of this (2x2) for my Russians would it be alright to use heat cable? If so would it be better to attach it to the lid or the floor?

I wish I didn't need a heated house, but while looking up average night temperatures in Denver for the summer I found that it averages in the high 50s at night even though the days are hot. So since I want to leave them outside all summer I will need to make one for them. (last summer they came inside at night, this year I want to fix up and redo the indoor enclosures so they have more room this winter, keeping them out of it will give me more time to finish without worrying about sealants and smells and the like)

I was going to put 4 doors on it as well, with a dividing wall inside so that it has 4 sections in case they need to be separate they will all still have a heated hide and I wont need 4 separate set ups. I will just have it be the central point of the enclosure.

By the way your design looks great, thanks for showing how you did it.

I have a small heated hide with heat cable in it, on a thermostat. It lines the sides and about 1/3 of the bottom. All sides are insulated, it is wood with a removable shingled roof with a small plexiglass 'skylight'. The cable is covered with hardware cloth stapled to the sides and over it on the bottom. On top of that I threw a thin layer of gravel, then aspen bedding. This works really well and is low cost to heat.
If your hide is larger, a mini oil filled radiator on a low protected shelf would work well too (or the hound heater).
All of the above refers to background heat, only needed at night if <50 and days are cooler, or during the day to bump temps up into the 60-70's to support the basking light.

All that said, if your temps only go down to 50 or above, you really don't need night heat, especially as they can bask in the warmer temps during the day. My torts are outside now 100%, and sleep in temps down to 50 w/o issue, because day temps are warm enough for them to bask and warm up. The hides and cold frames are really for Spring/Fall to extend the season, when temps are not as favorable, but they still benefit from being outside.
 
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