One Heat Source or Two for an Outdoor Tortoise House?

sstephenson

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I recently converted a dog house into a tortoise house for a pair of adolescent leopard tortoises. I sandwiched some insulation between inner and outer plywood walls. Now I'm ready to install heat, and I'm in a quandry about the best way to do it. I've got two heat sources available, an 18" x 18" ZooMed Reptitherm Habitat Heater that can be mounted on either the floor or the wall, and an 11" x 30" Helix Radiant Heat Panel that will be mounted hanging about 18" from the floor. As far as controls go, I have one Spyder Robotics Herpstat proportional thermostat.

Since the habitat heater has an automatic thermal cutoff at 119 deg F, and it registered 95 deg F when I pugged it in with no thermostat, my thought was to use this heater unregulated on one end of the house so that the tortoises could move on and off it as they chose. On the other side of the house I would have the radiant heat panel regulated with the thermostat to some minimum temp (maybe about 75 deg F). Please let me know your thoughts with respect to this setup. Is it OK to use the Habitat Heater unregulated? If so, should it be wall or floor mounted? Can I regulate both heat sources with one thermostat or would they fight each other? Any input is very much appreciated! This is my first tortoise house.

A couple notes
 

wellington

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First, how old and large are your leopards? Second, where are you located? I have an 8x12 insulated shed. I use an oil filled electric radiator for heating the shed. In my Leo's hide, that is inside the shed I have a pig heat blanket and a reptile radiant heat panel both on the same thermostat. I live in Chicago, Illinois. Cold, snowy winters.
 

sstephenson

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My male leopard is about 8" straight across the shell front-to-back, and the female about 10". I live near San Diego, CA. I'm in an inland valley, so winter nights can get down to the 20's F. Daytime temps in the 50s. My converted doghouse about 24" x 40" inside.
 

sibi

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I would never use an unregulated heat pad that can go to 119 degrees. I know you said it it registers in the 90's, but I wouldn't trust it at all. Also, I recently had single point of failure by putting three heat sources on one circuit. My tortoises almost froze to death.
It really depends on how much voltage each heater has. If you don't know, try putting everything you will be using on the one circuit, and set everything at its highest level. If it doesn't trip the circuit after half an hour, I guess it will be fine. As a final note, I have an insulated shed with concrete walls. The shed was 10 degrees lower than the outside air when the electricity tripped. So, if you have a converted dog house, insulated, don't think for a moment that those torts won't be freezing without any heat. Also, if the heat that you do generate doesn't stay in, your torts could be very, very cold despite the heating pads. If it's that cold, and you haven't tested the temps with what you have, then bring them in for the night, and test the temps without them being in there. Until you test and confirm that the temps will be stable at the levels you want, I would keep them inside for now.
 

Tom

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sstephenson said:
I recently converted a dog house into a tortoise house for a pair of adolescent leopard tortoises. I sandwiched some insulation between inner and outer plywood walls. Now I'm ready to install heat, and I'm in a quandry about the best way to do it. I've got two heat sources available, an 18" x 18" ZooMed Reptitherm Habitat Heater that can be mounted on either the floor or the wall, and an 11" x 30" Helix Radiant Heat Panel that will be mounted hanging about 18" from the floor. As far as controls go, I have one Spyder Robotics Herpstat proportional thermostat.

Since the habitat heater has an automatic thermal cutoff at 119 deg F, and it registered 95 deg F when I pugged it in with no thermostat, my thought was to use this heater unregulated on one end of the house so that the tortoises could move on and off it as they chose. On the other side of the house I would have the radiant heat panel regulated with the thermostat to some minimum temp (maybe about 75 deg F). Please let me know your thoughts with respect to this setup. Is it OK to use the Habitat Heater unregulated? If so, should it be wall or floor mounted? Can I regulate both heat sources with one thermostat or would they fight each other? Any input is very much appreciated! This is my first tortoise house.

A couple notes


In your situation I would do as you have planned. Just plug in the heat mat and run the RHP on a thermostat. I would set the thermostat higher though during winter. I go to 85 when we will be having cold days. I set mine at 70- 75 in the summer when the days will get hot. You could run the heat mat on the tstat too, but since they can get off of it whenever they want, I'd let it run hotter. 119 will serve them well on a 55 degree rainy day.
 

argus333

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i have small oil filled heater in 6ft x 6ft shed fully insulated. works great
 
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