Outdoor enclosure advice

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vrskane

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Our sulcata is about 3 years old and he has gotten far too large to keep indoors any longer. We live in Yucaipa, CA, which is mid-way between LA and Palm Springs. The weather is acceptable for him year-round, except he needs a little help in the winter months. We've converted a rubbermaid shed to house him, with a oil-filled radiator heater inside to keep it at a comfortable temperature. We were advised against pig blankets, as there is no auto shut-off mode for reptiles and he could potentially cook himself if it gets too hot. The problem is that we need a way to warm him from underneath without any risk of fire, obviously, or any risk of him burning himself. Right now the shed rests directly on the ground, but I'm wondering if we need to elevate it. It's been pretty cold and rainy over the last few weeks and noticed he was very lethargic and not eating much at all. We moved him back indoors, temporarily, just to get him warm again and see if we could get him eating, which seems to have worked. Unfortunately, I believe he may have a respiratory infection at this point and need to get him treated for that. I plan on calling one of the recommended doctors from this site. Ideally, we need to figure out how to configure his outdoor house so that it works for him even when its chilly and damp outside.

Long story short, does anyone have any suggestions for outdoor enclosure warmth? I can send photos of his outdoor space, if that would help. Thanks!
 

Laura

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Pig blankets work well for a guy your size. Look for a Stanfield heat mat from Osborne Industries. They seem to ahve the best price. Its a Must that you get one with a thermostat as well.
You want one big enough he can sit on, but you also have to provide a area in his shelter that he can get off of it if he get too hot. If the matt is inside a good insulated shed, it should help heat the lower area as well. Ambient heating.
I would bet he is more like 7-10 years old.. how big was he when you found him wandering the streets?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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You CAN use a pig blanket safely with a rheostat to control the heat. I have used this same one for Bob for 5 years without any trouble. He loves his mat and moves on and off to regulate his heat. No matter what mat you get for your guy use this control and put the temperature on 6. That is just warm enough and your Sulcata should be happy with it. My temp gun died so I can't tell you what temperature the mat is when the control is on 6 but it feels great to my hand and like I said Bob loves it. That's where I've had it for 5 years. He sleeps on the mat all night and sometimes during the day he gets on it to warm up. I heartily recommend this for you. I believe you can get your mat from this same site...Hope this helps...just be sure to get this control with your mat, and it does keep a constant safe temperature...


http://www.osborne-ind.com/petsub/heatpad/heat_pad_controls.htm
 

onarock

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I dont keep sulcatas, so my experience with them has only been through friends, but I'll throw this out there.
Do you think it might be easier to try and acclimate him in the spring when its getting warm and not the fall when its getting colder. Maybe a few more months indoors might make his transition easier. Just a thought, please forgive my terrible spelling
 

vrskane

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We have a Kane heat pad, but stopped using it because the rheostat we bought with it broke, in addition to being advised not to use them. We were told that reptiles can't tell when they are getting too hot and can potentially "cook" themselves if the pad gets too hot. Which rheostat/thermostat do you recommend?

As far as how big he was when we found him.....he was about the size of my hand. That was about 3 1/2 years ago. He is now about the size of an average shoebox.


Laura said:
Pig blankets work well for a guy your size. Look for a Stanfield heat mat from Osborne Industries. They seem to ahve the best price. Its a Must that you get one with a thermostat as well.
You want one big enough he can sit on, but you also have to provide a area in his shelter that he can get off of it if he get too hot. If the matt is inside a good insulated shed, it should help heat the lower area as well. Ambient heating.
I would bet he is more like 7-10 years old.. how big was he when you found him wandering the streets?



I'm assuming your guy is outside? What part of the country do you live and is there anything else special you did to his habitat?


maggie3fan said:
You CAN use a pig blanket safely with a rheostat to control the heat. I have used this same one for Bob for 5 years without any trouble. He loves his mat and moves on and off to regulate his heat. No matter what mat you get for your guy use this control and put the temperature on 6. That is just warm enough and your Sulcata should be happy with it. My temp gun died so I can't tell you what temperature the mat is when the control is on 6 but it feels great to my hand and like I said Bob loves it. That's where I've had it for 5 years. He sleeps on the mat all night and sometimes during the day he gets on it to warm up. I heartily recommend this for you. I believe you can get your mat from this same site...Hope this helps...just be sure to get this control with your mat, and it does keep a constant safe temperature...


http://www.osborne-ind.com/petsub/heatpad/heat_pad_controls.htm



We actually did have him outside for the entire summer without any issues and were hoping it would be an easy transition into the shed, but it looks as though we still have some fine tuning to do.

onarock said:
I dont keep sulcatas, so my experience with them has only been through friends, but I'll throw this out there.
Do you think it might be easier to try and acclimate him in the spring when its getting warm and not the fall when its getting colder. Maybe a few more months indoors might make his transition easier. Just a thought, please forgive my terrible spelling
 

onarock

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vrskane said:
We have a Kane heat pad, but stopped using it because the rheostat we bought with it broke, in addition to being advised not to use them. We were told that reptiles can't tell when they are getting too hot and can potentially "cook" themselves if the pad gets too hot. Which rheostat/thermostat do you recommend?

As far as how big he was when we found him.....he was about the size of my hand. That was about 3 1/2 years ago. He is now about the size of an average shoebox.


Laura said:
Pig blankets work well for a guy your size. Look for a Stanfield heat mat from Osborne Industries. They seem to ahve the best price. Its a Must that you get one with a thermostat as well.
You want one big enough he can sit on, but you also have to provide a area in his shelter that he can get off of it if he get too hot. If the matt is inside a good insulated shed, it should help heat the lower area as well. Ambient heating.
I would bet he is more like 7-10 years old.. how big was he when you found him wandering the streets?



I'm assuming your guy is outside? What part of the country do you live and is there anything else special you did to his habitat?


maggie3fan said:
You CAN use a pig blanket safely with a rheostat to control the heat. I have used this same one for Bob for 5 years without any trouble. He loves his mat and moves on and off to regulate his heat. No matter what mat you get for your guy use this control and put the temperature on 6. That is just warm enough and your Sulcata should be happy with it. My temp gun died so I can't tell you what temperature the mat is when the control is on 6 but it feels great to my hand and like I said Bob loves it. That's where I've had it for 5 years. He sleeps on the mat all night and sometimes during the day he gets on it to warm up. I heartily recommend this for you. I believe you can get your mat from this same site...Hope this helps...just be sure to get this control with your mat, and it does keep a constant safe temperature...


http://www.osborne-ind.com/petsub/heatpad/heat_pad_controls.htm



We actually did have him outside for the entire summer without any issues and were hoping it would be an easy transition into the shed, but it looks as though we still have some fine tuning to do.

onarock said:
I dont keep sulcatas, so my experience with them has only been through friends, but I'll throw this out there.
Do you think it might be easier to try and acclimate him in the spring when its getting warm and not the fall when its getting colder. Maybe a few more months indoors might make his transition easier. Just a thought, please forgive my terrible spelling






I see, well, good luck
 

Yvonne G

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Hi vrskane:

I've used pig blankets (bought from the site Laura steered you to) for over 25 years and haven't had an accident or burned tortoise yet. I also buy the F911 controller to use with the pad. It works much better than the cheaper one they sell.

If your baby was the size of your hand when you found him, he was more than likely about 3 years old. So he's probably 6 or 7 now.

If Habanero doesn't dig, you're quite lucky. His shed must be perfect for him. Because if he were too hot during the summer, he would dig down to the cooler earth. And too cold in the winter, he'd dig down trying to warm up. So he must be ok in the shed. Buy a good controller for your Kane heat pad and you should be ok. You want to be able to dial quite a few different temperatures, not just one that goes from high to low.
 

Kristina

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vrskane said:
We have a Kane heat pad, but stopped using it because the rheostat we bought with it broke, in addition to being advised not to use them. We were told that reptiles can't tell when they are getting too hot and can potentially "cook" themselves if the pad gets too hot.

If this is true - how do wild reptiles know to get out of the sun or off a sun heated rock? They certainly wouldn't have survived 230 million years of evolution :) Humans have only been around for the last 3 million. I think the turtles got one on us, lol.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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To answer your question where do I live...In Oregon where it freezes and snows. Bob lives like a king in a 20' X 12' tortoise shed. Sulcata are pacers so that means to me that they need a big place to live during the winter so they have room to pace. So Bob lives in a good sized shed so he has a lot of room in the winter. But I still think that controller I showed you will work for you.

It's only the babies who don't know when to get off the mats. You have several experienced keepers trying to help you here. Keepers who have been keeping tortoises on the mats for years. Yvonne has had a turtle and tortoise rescue for over 30 years and has been using pig blankets for them. We know what we are talking about.
 
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