My Best Night Box Design Yet

Julia1982

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Tom- do you have the oil lamp plugged into a timer? What do you use to check the temp?
 

Tom

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Tom- do you have the oil lamp plugged into a timer? What do you use to check the temp?
There is no oil lamp.

The heater is set on a thermostat. Like this one: https://www.lllreptile.com/products/13883-zilla-1000-watt-temperature-controller

To check temperatures I hang a thermometer/hygrometer on the wall that shows current temp and humidity, as well as recording the daily high and low. Like this: https://www.lowes.com/pd/AcuRite-Digital-Weather-Station/1000162483
 

Julia1982

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Oh lol. Apparently the “oil filled” on the heater confused me. I have that temp controller. Thanks!!!
 

Julia1982

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Tom, do you only use the mini heater in these or do you have radiant panels in there too?
 

Tom

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Tom, do you only use the mini heater in these or do you have radiant panels in there too?
In 4x4' boxes, I usually use an RHP/Kane mat combo. In the bigger 4x8' boxes, I use the mini radiant oil heaters.
 

Julia1982

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My box is finally done! I want to put some sort of bedding in part of he box....what should I use? Hay? Dirt?
 

vladimir

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Tom, View attachment 257166 My box is finally done! I want to put some sort of bedding in part of he box....what should I use? Hay? Dirt?
If anything, some reptibark / fine grade orchid bark would work. I had some in my box but after a few bathroom uses I realized it made the mess harder to clean up, so now it is a bare bottom. He doesn't seem to mind.


Nice work, by the way! [emoji16]
 

Julia1982

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In the winter my area goes down to the 30’s/40’s at night. What should I set the heater temp? I was thinking 80??
 

Tom

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In the winter my area goes down to the 30’s/40’s at night. What should I set the heater temp? I was thinking 80??
Your box looks great! Looks like you put in a guard so you can use a mini radiant oil heater. In that case, you can use dirt or grass hay, or both.

What species is the box for and where are you?
 

Julia1982

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Thanks Tom! My father-in-law made it for me for my 2 leopard torts. I am in central California, Fresno area.
 

Julia1982

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Tom-

At night I can’t get the temp above 74 degrees. I have it set at 82 degrees. The temp probe is on the ground. I have the heater is up all the way. I am not sure what I could do differently. The torts temp is reading 70 degrees via temp gun. Any ideas?
 

vladimir

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How cold is the outside temp at night? Can you post some more pictures of the inside and the doorway? Are there any gaps where air could be getting out?

In the 4x4x2 night box I have we put 1/2" foam insulation in the roof - not sure if that would help in your case or not
 

Julia1982

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It gets about 40 degrees at night. The house was made identical to Tom’s design. I will get some pics.
 

Yvonne G

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Tom-

At night I can’t get the temp above 74 degrees. I have it set at 82 degrees. The temp probe is on the ground. I have the heater is up all the way. I am not sure what I could do differently. The torts temp is reading 70 degrees via temp gun. Any ideas?
I had this problem with my Vision Cages. come to find out, the walls are too thin and I needed to box the cage in with rigid foam insulation. Did you insulate the walls of your night box? And what thickness of insulation did you use?
 

Tom

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Tom-

At night I can’t get the temp above 74 degrees. I have it set at 82 degrees. The temp probe is on the ground. I have the heater is up all the way. I am not sure what I could do differently. The torts temp is reading 70 degrees via temp gun. Any ideas?
What are you using to heat it?
Is the heater running all the time? Sometimes the little number on the thermostat isn't accurate. You have to use your thermometer to set the temp. If it is set to 82 and only going to 74, set the thermostat to 90 and then see where it holds the temperature.
 

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After much thought about what worked and what I wanted to improve over previous attempts, here is the latest version with a step by step pictorial on how I did it. It is time for my 2010 South African herd to move outside. They are moving into a 16x20' completely closed in enclosure. The enclosure is a wooden frame enclosed top to bottom with welded wire. It has a wire roof and the wire extends 18" down into the ground. The actual night box is 4x8x2'. I found a mini oil-filled heater to heat it with. The heater is on a thermostat and will be set to 80 for about half of the year and 70 over the warmer months.

Here is the lid. You can see the insulation in place.
14qv4i.jpg


Here is the plywood cover going over the insulation in the lid. The lid fits on top of the box and is hinged. There will be weatherstripping all around the top and the lip on the lid keeps the rain out of the box. You can see a finished lid for a second box in the background.
ao0wo6.jpg


Here is the bottom. Notice the door notch and how that will fit in later.
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Insulation in the bottom. All the insulation is 1.5" thick and has the shiny mylar foil side pointing to the outside. Don't know if that matters much, but thats how I did it.
18d5dg.jpg


Insulation on the floor all covered up.
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Here the front and back are attached. Notice the door taking shape. Since 9 animals will initially share this, and as they get older they will get bigger, I went kinda big with the door at 26x16". This way one of them won't be able to sit in the doorway and block all the others in or out, and later, when they reach adult size, they will easily fit in and out of this door.
py4o3.jpg


Another view of the front with the sides going up.
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Here the side wall insulation is in place and about to be covered up. This box is also double caulked to keep out any cold drafts on those below freezing winter nights. The only air movement will be from the door, or when I open the lid.
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All buttoned up.
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Here goes the front insulation.
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The front insulation is all covered up here. The 2x4 blocks there will support a 2x10" water tub holding shelf. Having containers of water inside will keep the humidity up in the night box, and act as a bit of a heat sink. This technique has been working very well in my underground sulcata night box.
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Here's a top view showing the area where the heater will live, the weather stripping in place, the door flaps, and the 2x4 in the back that the lid hinges attach to.
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Here is the front with paint and door flaps and water shelves in place.
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Here is the door. I will carve out the dirt where the door/ramp hits the ground so it sits flush. One "weak" spot of previous designs was the simple plywood door. I went to great time and trouble to super insulate my night boxes, but then just used thin plywood to cover the door holes. This time the door shares the same 1.5" insulation as the rest of the box. Door open:
14k9u85.jpg


Door Closed:
2d11h68.jpg



Here you can see the heater installed, the metal heat shield above it, the water tubs for humidity on the shelves, and my purple shoe box that holds all my electrical stuff.
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Here are some of the babies enjoying their bermuda grass bedding.
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Here is a wide view showing some of the enclosure. The empty wooden box in the lower right foreground of the pic is their 4x8' shade table/planter box. I will be filling it and planting leopard tortoise food in their in the next few days.
2qdd8om.jpg



One more view of the same thing from the other side.
30w1f0o.jpg




Well that's it. Tell me what you think. :)

I'm planning on building a slightly smaller (3'X4') version of this fantastic night box for my redfoot, the idea being to stretch his outside time during the New Hampshire summer.

Thanks,

Jamie
 

Julia1982

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I’m using the mini heater that you posted on here. I have it hooked to the Jumpstart that I have set at 80 degrees. So should I move the Jumpstart temp higher? I have the same thermometer you posted here. I have the heater knob turned all the way high. The probe for the jumpstart is on the ground.
 

Always pondering

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Here is our night box, built as close to Tom's design as I could make it. The mat on the bottom was given to us with Timmi. We have the thermostat set to 85 and during the day it gets to that but in the early morning its usually about 74. The side with the mat would obviously be warmer. I've looked but haven't been able to find how warm should it be? Also, how close should the RHP be to the top of her shell?
2018-10-22_16-17-15_029.jpeg 2018-10-24_17-09-27_928.jpeg 2018-10-30_14-28-09_479.jpeg
 
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