E.czarnowsky

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Jan 8, 2019
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Wake Forest, NC
Hello Sulcata forum!

My name is Eric and I live in Wake Forest, NC with my Wife and two kids. We recently adopted a baby Sulcata from a breeder at repticon. After much research through reading and watching videos, I believe my setup is a perfect setup for the first years of our little Sulcata’s life. However, reading and videos are great, feedback is even better! Here is what my set up consists of:

40 gallon terrarium
UV strip
165 flood light with dimmer set so it does not exceed 100 degrees
Two cvs heat pads with timers located under the terrarium
Humid hide box with moss
Organic top soil for substrate

Additionally, I have set up the terrarium so one half is dry with a basking area, and the other side is more damp/humid.

The only concern I have is the ambient temperature. The ground temperature is between 80-85 degrees using a gun; however, my zoomed terrarium thermometer is reading 78-79 degrees. Should I purchase a ceramic heat emitter with a thermostat to increase the temperature to 85 degrees?



Thank you and I’m looking forward to your responses!

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Yvonne G

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Hi and welcome!

I can see him getting stuck in that food bowl and maybe ending up on his back. I'd change it out to a large, rough tile. Same thing with the waterer. I like to use either the saucer from a cup and saucer, or a clay plant saucer. I place small pebbles in the bottom to make it more shallow, and I sink it down into the substrate. Oops! I see in your last picture you ARE feeding on a flat surface. Good job.

Try to cover the enclosure to keep the warm, moist air inside and the cool air from the house out. I can't see the top of the enclosure, but I'm guessing you have the lights sitting on a screen. Screen filters out the UVB rays. It looks like the aquarium may be tall enough that you can position the lights UNDER the screen. As long as you have about 12" from the tortoise to the light it's ok. Lowering the heat/light will make it warmer inside.
 

Yvonne G

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When you say "cvs" heat pads, are you talking about a people heating pad you bought at CVS pharmacy? This is a no no. Placing a people heating pad under a terrarium causes the pad to overheat. It could be a dangerous situation.
 

E.czarnowsky

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Location (City and/or State)
Wake Forest, NC
The heating pads were suggested by the breeder. They intermittently turn off every 30 minutes to prevent overheating. As for the heat lamp and lighting, the UV is attached under the lid to get maximum UV rating.

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E.czarnowsky

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Wake Forest, NC
However, if you could suggest another heating pad option, I am all ears. What ever that is best for my tortoise.
 

Tim Carlisle

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However, if you could suggest another heating pad option, I am all ears. What ever that is best for my tortoise.
I don't use heat mats in my enclosure (I just don't think they're necessary), but I agree with @Yvonne G that the CVS (people) heating pads are quite dangerous. Even though the temperature on them is held steady, they were never designed for continuous use and can become a fire hazard. There are heat mats sold specifically for animals and serve the purpose you are trying to use them for. Granted, they are quite a bit more expensive than the people pads.
 

E.czarnowsky

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Location (City and/or State)
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I don't use heat mats in my enclosure (I just don't think they're necessary), but I agree with @Yvonne G that the CVS (people) heating pads are quite dangerous. Even though the temperature on them is held steady, they were never designed for continuous use and can become a fire hazard. There are heat mats sold specifically for animals and serve the purpose you are trying to use them for. Granted, they are quite a bit more expensive than the people pads.

I can understand that completely. I’m going to update my heating in that case. What do you use instead to insure stable heating? Especially at night.
 

Tim Carlisle

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I can understand that completely. I’m going to update my heating in that case. What do you use instead to insure stable heating? Especially at night.
My indoor enclosure uses a series of CHE's connected to a thermostat. They work quite nicely. The bottom of my enclosure is nicely insulated, so I have no real need for any bottom-heating devices.
 

E.czarnowsky

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Wake Forest, NC
My indoor enclosure uses a series of CHE's connected to a thermostat. They work quite nicely. The bottom of my enclosure is nicely insulated, so I have no real need for any bottom-heating devices.

I’m going to switch to a CHE setup. I do not want to risk hurting the tortoise. Thanks for the advise. What thermosat doe you use?
 
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