Night box for red footed tortoises.

mike taylor

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This is what I built for my reds. Just a box . Painted the inside with flex seal . Drys fast no smell when finished drying. Wired it in with a thermostat controlling a receptacle. Plugged two heaters in set at two different temperatures on their built in rheostats . This way when the thrmostst calls for heat both heaters come on . The one set lower will turn off on it's rheostat . The one set higher will keep the temperature constant. If one fails the other will not let the temperature in the box drop too low. I also made the top flip open to make a table or work space for health checks and what not.

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Tom

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I like the shelf for the heaters and the electrical work looks great.

Some questions:
  1. Door?
  2. It looks like the top is hinged, but no overhanging lip? What about rain?
  3. I've never used Flex seal. How does it hold up over time under tortoise nails and damp substrate? I just bought some Pond Shield to try out, but it seems complicated with the sanding, mixing, and batch size worries, application thickness, etc… Is flex seal like a paint? Brush it on and be done with it?
  4. Have you used space heaters like those before. I've had reliability problems with them in the past, and I found that the built in thermostats on the units allowed 10-20 degree temps swings when I used them. Are these ones proving more reliable than the ones I used in the past?
 

wellington

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Let us know how the flex holds up. I used it in a metal tub I use for flowers. This is the second summer and so far so good on keeping it from rusting.
The stuff seems great. I like that it comes in spray or brush/roll on.
Your box looks good.
 

mike taylor

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Tom no overhang due to it's going under a covered area . I haven't enstalled the ramp door yet waiting on the flex seal to dry . It's like liquid rubber very durable and water tight . Good stuff . The heaters have worked good for me . I haven't had any problems with them . I replace them yearly . They're cheap and sold everywhere down here . I put Cyprus mulch in them and spay it with an mist every few days . I also mount a dog water bowl with the two litter bottle so they can drink but not soak . Don't like them being wet in winter . To apply the flex seal you paint it on with a roller and brush just like paint . When it dries no smell . Apply it as think as you can . It feels like rubber horse mats when dry. As for reliability that's why I use two just in case. But so far so good .
 
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mike taylor

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Tom also the thermostat fixes that temperature differential problem . I used heavy duty gate hinges to hold up to use . Made a metal pole with plates welded to the top and bottom to hold the top up as a table . Gives you a good place to put your shop vac for cleaning . I used 100% silicone on all seams . I'm pretty sure if it didn't have a door on the front it would hold water . In the walls I used styrofoam for insulation that way if it does get wet it will dry out . The one I built inside my tortoises shed is going on five years and no rot that I can see . That one has the rubber deck coating then a tarp over the top then bedding . I have to enstalled the flaps over the door and ramp . I'm going to flip it over and screw them thick rubber horse mats to the bottom to keep it off the dirt . That should help the underside of the floor last longer . Used stainless screws on the bottom so if it did rot should be easy to build a four foot by four foot floor to replace it . In Texas the moisture levels are high all the time even in winter . So wood doesn't last if not protected .
 

mike taylor

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Thanks Wellington . The flex seal is awesome stuff . You can build a mold and pour it in and make rubber mats out of it . The cool part is you can let it dry a little then paint more on . It is kind of expensive but worth it's weight in gold .
 

mike taylor

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And the house in it's resting place . Ran it overnight and it's just right .
 

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mike taylor

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The reds are smart . Only a few days of use and they are already using it . I had to put them in there by hand . Last night I didn't . Five out of seven put themselves up . So I have two I'll have to keep up with this winter . Not bad .
 

mike taylor

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The reds doing their thing . I'm loving this night box . Why did I ever put the in them shed ?
 

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