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Sulcata needs a larger outside winter/night enclosure, also making room for 2x aldabras

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by xirxes, Sep 25, 2019.

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  1. xirxes

    xirxes Active Member

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    Back to the drawing boards for designing a long term outdoor housing for some XL torts.

    My 5 year old sulcata has just about outgrown his evening hot-house, which is about 3x3', with floorspace taken up by an enclosed oil heater and a tortoise zoomed floor heater. He lives outside year round and in the cold season may stay inside his hot house for a few days at a time.

    I am also planning to have two 6-7" aldabras come live here nearing january and i want to build a heated enclosure to house them both for 5-10 years. I want them to have a large enough space that i can close them in for the majority of the cold season here if needed comfortably.

    I will be functionally halving the space, one half for the sulcata and one half for the aldabs. They will each get their own separate entrances and each get their own yard space.

    My question: Is it time to bite the bullet and build a full sized shed, 8x10x8' and heat it, like a smaller version of Kenan's sulcata shed or Aldabraman's aldab barn or will they be suited to possibly two separate enclosures like Tom's sulcata enclosure where its 4x8x3?

    It seems like the materials cost will be about the same, heating may cost a bit more, but if i have a heat mat each side, and a hanging, shielded oil radiating heater (again like Kenan's) or even 2x 250 watt CHE's at a height to set evening temps to 70F perhaps the heating will be the same cost.

    Either way i'm on the fence and will be building soon.

    Any input appreciated.
  2. xirxes

    xirxes Active Member

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    Welp, with all lurkers and no input, build is moving forward on 4x8x2’ single door for now.

    IMG_7377.JPG IMG_7380.JPG IMG_7383.JPG IMG_7384.JPG
  3. Team Gomberg

    Team Gomberg IXOYE 5 Year Member

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    You've already started, so opinions don't matter anymore. However, as one who has re built enclosures more times than I would have liked to, I'd have suggested going straight to the 8x10 shed.

    On the other hand, the nice thing about starting small is you get to repurpose it for something else once you build the next upgrade!
  4. kazjimmy

    kazjimmy Active Member

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    Looks like you got everything. What do you use for the bottom? I use concrete.
  5. xirxes

    xirxes Active Member

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    I went with Tom’s night box build from long ago, and I think that max heights I have seen for sulcatas are 14” prone, 18” standing, and max width 24”, max length 34”.

    This enclosure is 41x89x 24” inside. I used a pressure treated 2x4 insulated footer, all sides insulated with 2” radiant foam panel insulation, even the door. The door opening is 26”x18.75”.

    Decided to hit the floor with black flex-seal to allow me to regularly wash it out. Also lined top of walls with 1/4” weather strip to seal the lid. Should be quite easy to keep heat in/out.

    I am considering exterior full coverage with flex-seal as well to give highest possible durability and water resilience. IMG_7389.JPG IMG_7387.JPG IMG_7386.JPG

    Last is old vs new. Tortilla is scraping to get through the door on old house!
  6. Blackdog1714

    Blackdog1714 Well-Known Member

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    You might want to coat all the exposed OSB board- it is terrible when directly exposed to moisture
    Tom likes this.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Where are you?

    Here is a double door box that would have worked better for you:
    https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/double-door-night-box.129054/

    For future reference, experience has taught me to not use OSB or any other type of particle board. I use ply inside and out.

    Keep us posted on how the flex seal holds up. Several people have used it lately and I'm interested in giving it a try if it looks like its non-toxic and it will hold up under the weight and abuse dished out by a large sulcata.
    xirxes likes this.
  8. xirxes

    xirxes Active Member

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    San Diego area, very mild weather.

    I decided to build this for my sulcata alone. I’ll build another/modify for aldabs when they arrive.

    I’m my experience, as long as its not exposed to elements, OSB holds up really well, for 5+ years at least. I did use CDX plywood on floor for smoothness and flex seal.

    We use flex seal quite a bit for In-koipond color treating/waterproofing and it is a great product. Cures like polyurea not like a brittle epoxy.
    Tom likes this.
  9. xirxes

    xirxes Active Member

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    Tom- Should I add a large (36”round) tall water bowl inside for humidity? Also which hay do you recommend for bedding?
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