RF Newbie here

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giryarmo

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Hello, I am not yet a RF owner, but hopefully soon. I am setting up an outdoor area and had a couple questions before getting the actual tortoise.

I live about 10 miles north of Los Angeles and I have an area next to my house that I would think is ideal for an RF. It is about a 6x30 feet area. One of the longer sides is the side of my house going all the way back and the opposing is a huge concrete wall going all the way back as well. One end is a large metal gate that is completely covered and not accesable, and I have secured the other end with decorative fencing and rock. So the area is very secure. The area is completely blocked off from any predators except for crows which are fairly abundant in the area (my plan is to get a larger adult pair).

In the past I have used the area for a veggie and herb garden, but over the last few weeks have converted most of the vegetation to include items that torts love, the only herbs I have left are thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley and mint. I no longer have veggies growing there, in addition I have planted bermuda grass, dandelion seeds, nasturtium, hibuscus as well as a forest tortoise pasture mix. The area is a highly humid area because of the high walls that surround it and I have a sprinkler system that goes off 4 times per week, the drainage in that soil isnt the best, so there will be a muddy wallow for a few hours, which apparently they are fond of. However, the area probably only gets a couple hours of direct sunlight, would that be enough for them? there is plenty of indirect sunlight.

All in all things are going very smoothly, however, this is where my problem comes in, I dont have the room to house the redfoots indoors at nights in the winter, so I wanted to see the best way to keep them warm at night. My area can get into the 40's at night on some winter nights, but typically isnt too bad. I know people have mentioned dog houses with ceramic emitters, however, how do people set up the outlets for the heat lamps? Would blankets in an enclosure at night do the trick? I think I can figure something out if I had to use a heat lamp cause there is a outlet further away that I think I can use, but I wanted to see if anybody else has a similar setup that can give me some advice.

sorry for the lengthy email and thanks in advance for your help.
 

Cam

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check out redfoot nerds site...turtletary.com
or search his posts too, great info and lots of pics:D
Have fun.
 

giryarmo

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Cam said:
check out redfoot nerds site...turtletary.com
or search his posts too, great info and lots of pics:D
Have fun.

Will do, thanks Cam.
 

Cam

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Wish I could help ya, but i am in minnesota...no outdoor torts here:p
 

giryarmo

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Cam said:
Wish I could help ya, but i am in minnesota...no outdoor torts here:p

Yeah I understand. I was looking at the site, there are some great pics and info there, but its more general info, I was hoping somebody can chime in with advice on my specific situation. I just wanna have the right setup before I get the tort.
 

Cam

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I can't reacall where...I'll look about tomorrow...
but I saw several people who use the outdoor deck storage boxes converted and with a warming light for theri torts...

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
 

giryarmo

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I just wanted to throw this out there again to see if anybody can help me out....I guess the only real question I have is if anybody houses adult redfoots outdoors year round, and if so what type of housing and heating do you use? The winters in southern california are not really cold, so I was planning on keeping them outdoors year round. Would I need to use a heat lamp or would another heat source in a hide box be sufficient for the evenings. any help is appreciated.
 

JustAnja

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You could go with a heat panel mounted on the wall of the hide box. You could use concrete blocks to construct the box for them and fill the holes in the blocks with insulation probably. Build a frame roof that can be lifted for cleaning that would just sit on top the concrete block structure. Just a few ideas to kick around. Use clear vinyl with strip cut for the door opening so they can go in and out on their own as well but be sure to have a way of blocking them in if the temps are going to drop too much.
 

Cam

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do you need to bury chicken wire mesh fencing to prevent them from digging out?
How high should the sides be to prevent climbling out? Is it 2&1/2 times the length of the fulll grown tort?
 

giryarmo

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Wow, thanks everybody, thats all great info.

Cam- I dont need any chicken wire fencing as the entire outdoor area is very predator/digging proof. In regards to humidity, safety and space, it really is an ideal spot for a redfoot, the only problem has been there is no outlet so I have been stumped as to how to supplant heat at night, and I think these ideas are really going to help.

thanks again.
 

giryarmo

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Just to reiterate, the are is 5 feet wide and about 35 feet long, the two longest sides are concrete walls roughly 20 feet high, one end is a 8 foot gate and the other end I have closed off as well...so not fencing, climbing out problems here. The area also has a sprinkler system that goes off 4 times a week to water all the lovely greens I have set up for the tort.
 

Crazy1

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giryarmo said:
I found some really good info and plans for a great outdoor enclosure.

http://www.turtlecafe.com/habitat.pl?page=rubbermaid_house


I dont know if anybody else can use it, but I think it might help me. the plan requires an outlet again, so i dont know if I can do everything listed in there, but I like the insulation idea.

So can you have an electrician run a line or use an outside extension cord rated for say a dryer or such?
 

Redfoot NERD

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How can I say this??????? I've been hesitating.

Get desert tortoises!

Or construct a dwelling that you can maintain at low to mid-80's during seasons that get below 70F. And it absolutely MUST BE hard-wired.. no extension cords.. EVER!!!

You live in a climate that is.. just about as wrong for redfoots as you can..... much too dry year 'round! And then it get's too cool for them too! You might just have to accept that.

For example I had to give up on Leopard's because it was just too humid here! And I had beautiful 12-13" blond ones.

It will be quite an expense to do it right.. however it can be done! You know me.. count the cost.. FIRST!!!

Terry
 

Crazy1

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Thanks terry for correcting me on the extention cords. Bad Robyn, :(.
But I'm learning
 

giryarmo

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Redfoot NERD said:
How can I say this??????? I've been hesitating.

Get desert tortoises!

Or construct a dwelling that you can maintain at low to mid-80's during seasons that get below 70F. And it absolutely MUST BE hard-wired.. no extension cords.. EVER!!!

You live in a climate that is.. just about as wrong for redfoots as you can..... much too dry year 'round! And then it get's too cool for them too! You might just have to accept that.

For example I had to give up on Leopard's because it was just too humid here! And I had beautiful 12-13" blond ones.

It will be quite an expense to do it right.. however it can be done! You know me.. count the cost.. FIRST!!!

Terry

Terry-the problem with desert tortoises is that the area that I will be keeping them is actually high humidity. The overall climate of southern california is dry alot of months, however, like I mentioned in my original post, the specific area that I will be keeping them is actually extremely humid. It is a very shady area with a sprinkler system that goes off 4 times per week. So the overall area is very damp and humid. I really dont think a desert tort will do well in this particular scenario. Not to mention the area only gets about 2-3 hours of direct sunlight.

Thanks for the input, but I think Im going to continue to search for ways to supplement night time heating for a forest tort for this area as opposed to a desert tort. I think with a little creativity and money I can make a good environment.

I kept african spurs for 5 years and would love to get a pair, however, I just dont think this enclosure is hot and dry enough for them, so if I cant figure out a way to supplement night time heat for the redfoot, I might be forced not to buy a tort at all.
 
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