Sulcata Tortoise night box Lid


New Member
Aug 31, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Have a quick question in regards to all the flat lids of these tortoise night boxes I’ve been seeing. When it rains, doesn’t the rain water just sit and puddle up on the flat surface lid? Wouldn’t the roof top of a tortoise box be better with it being sloped like a roof of a house, so that the rain water just runs down off of the roof top? Just curious to know, because I am going to build a night box for my Sulcata, that I want to last long term.


Tim Carlisle

Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Cincinnati, OH
I had the same thoughts when I was starting out. Ohio weather can be severe and I wanted something to hold up to the elements. Rain, snow, floods, all of it. I incorporated some of Tom's plans and came up with this:


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May 23, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Carlsbad, CA
About 2 years ago I made a scaled down version of Tom's night box that's about 40"x60"x24" (the one on the left). I ripped a 2x2 to make two wedges placed on the top of the side walls for a bit of a slope for runoff. Standing water has not been an issue. Besides, have to lift the lid at least once a day to make sure he's in for the night so even with a flat top any water would run off anyway. It actually takes more of a beating from the sun. I need to repaint it soon. BTW, considered something like shingles but these lids are sort of heavy already, which is the reason for the struts.

The one on the right is his old house. Had sloped roof but only insulated on the sides and starting to get too small for Bomber and too tall to efficiently heat. I wanted to replace but no way I could remove and replace with a 4x8 in one day. This was before my hip replacements so arthritis made it really difficult to do anything crazy. My wife suggested a "room addition." That way I could work on it while Bomber still had a place to sleep. Now the old house is his foyer and he uses a passage to get into his main, heated area (there's another set of plastic flaps for the passage). I didn't make a plywood floor. It's dirt, but when the ambient temp is 80-83, the ground temperature has read 79-80. I'm only using the oil filled heater with thermostat and computer fan for air circulation. I did bury a piece of plywood under his favorite spot so he can't dig down to ground level. I made the front panel removable for cleaning because no way I could climb in. Once had a hinged door on his old house, but was always cleaning the hinges in order to close it. Since he sleeps in his main house, it's now just a wood door that stays up with magnets until he knocks it down in the morning to start his day. Then he hangs out in his personal area for awhile before pushing his gate open to roam the yard.


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