Turbo's Outdoor Enclosure Update/New Nightbox

erdavis

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I'm not expecting everyone to read this whole thing, but this is just for the people who want to bc I haven't updated it in a while. I know most just want to look at the pictures :p

Figured I would show you guys Turbo's newest enclosure updates and his new nightbox! Turbo is a slow growing Sulcata weighing about 3 pounds now :)
This enclosure started with just this; an 8'x8' pen with nothing to it that he was only in for a couple of hours a day. But you guys are right when you say that you are never "done" with an enclosure :p
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Then I made this, so that he could climb up and down. And sun bathe on the top, and find shade/a cover underneath. As you can see in this picture, he outgrew it. But it did last him a couple of years.
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Almost a year ago my dad built a huge shade thing as a surprise, but it took up half of the enclosure which meant that in half the enclosure no plants would grow and he lost half of his sunning space. (But of course I acted like I loved it). So when Turbo outgrew the thing above just a couple of months ago I decided to put some walls, a cover, and a ramp on the huge shade thing so that he could go up there. The only thing I was worried about was that it was built at a slant so that water would run off of it, but he has no problem with it and loves to walk around up there. And since Turbo still is obsessed with trying to climb corners and flipping himself, I put a piece of wood in every single corner (both down and upstairs) so he can't flip himself. Right now the cover is completely removable, but eventually it will be on hinges. Also the entire thing is on hinges and I can lift the whole thing up to get to the ground beneath it.

And a couple of weeks ago I asked my boyfriend to help me make a nightbox. I was thinking something very simple; just a box with a ramp/door and a lamp connected to a thermostat. And he ended up going all out and it turned into a beautiful house. The thermostat is set to 80F. The ramp/door is made so I can put a lock on it to keep him inside and unwanted animals out. And the top opens for easy access. And I put 3 sponges in there that I try to keep moist. I realize that its not insulated and so I'm not sure how it'll work in the Florida winter, but it works great right now and Turbo loves it (right now the lamp only actually comes on very rarely at night). It is a cooler place to go during the day when its hot, and a warmer place at night. He loves exploring it and goes up and down for fun. Now that I have this I don't have to take Turbo in every night. And if its raining during the day when I'm not home I don't have to worry that he'll be cold. Since I have this I have officially retired his indoor enclosure. I'm still keeping it and its still in my room but I will soon be emptying all the substrate out and I have already turned off all the lights in it for the first time since I got Turbo, and boy does my room feel cooler without that heat lamp!
Right now me and Turbo are very happy with his overall enclosure. The only thing I'd like to do now is get some more weeds growing in there. I planted the sulcata seed mix about a month ago but it just didn't fill in like I wanted it to and it doesn't look like much variety, so I will be getting some kind of seeds soon.

Anyways, here comes the picture overload! :) (Probably more than you want to look at!)


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This was yesterday, found him poking his head out for the first time that morning to see if it was suitable enough for him to come out :p
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This is a pic of the inside with the top lifted up. You can see that the actual box just has a flat roof, and then the A-frame is added on top of it. I might put dirt on the bottom, not sure yet though.
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Waterproof box so that the thermostat doesn't get wet.
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The back of the box has all the cords. The thermostat is then plugged into an extension cord that is under the box so that it doesn't get wet.
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This is underneath the second story which has his water bin.
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He kept digging under the ramp to the second story no matter how many times I would fill it in, I even dug him a very nice hole somewhere else that he wanted nothing to do with. The problem was that he would also dig the dirt that the bottom of the ramp is sitting on, and the ramp would literally fall on top of him. So eventually I just put this board under the ramp so that he can dig under the ramp, but the ramp would still have something to sit on. This hole is only a couple of days old but I know he'll dig much much more.
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Him coming out of his hole.
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Him in his hole. With the flash it makes it look like the hole is barely a hole. But its deeper than it looks and it was actually a pain in the butt to get him out of it every night. Again, now that I am letting him keep this hole I know he'll dig much much more.
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So there it is. I like it a lot right now but I know pretty soon I'll be working on something again. I am just glad that he can fully be outside now and I won't have to worry about him being cold when its raining as long as he goes in the box. Let me know if you see anything I should change! :)
 

mike taylor

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It all looks awesome . The only thing I would change is the che . I would use a small heater on that thermostat . You can get a 700 watt heater cheap . The che' s will burn their shell if it stays under it . The heater warms the air not just one spot . Besides that you did great .
 

erdavis

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@mike taylor thanks I will look into that. :) just wondering though whats the difference is between using a CHE in an indoor enclosure and in a nightbox? The CHE in this night box is actually higher off the ground than the one indoors, I'm just curious as to why one in an indoor enclosure would be less of a worry. Either way though I will still look into the heater!
 

mike taylor

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Because you check your indoor temperature all the time . I use che' s inside but I'm always moving them and keeping the humidity high . Outside in a night box it will dry out the top of the shell . Thus burning shell . With the heater it moves the air all over making no hot spots . Make sense thats the best description I can think of .
 

erdavis

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@mike taylor Okay makes sense. I'm looking into getting one. Thanks :)

Turbo survived his first thunderstorm last night/right now. I was worried about him getting scared and trying to climb the walls and then flip over, I woke up in the middle of the night at 2am and 4am and ran out in the storm to check on him. He was sound asleep both times. And then since 6 this morning he has been poking his head out just waiting for the rain to stop so he can go out for a bit, It reminds me of a kid waiting by the window for it to stop raining. Anyways, it seems like he is dealing with this storm out there way better than my 100 lb dog is inside the house :p
 

Team Gomberg

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just wondering though whats the difference is between using a CHE in an indoor enclosure and in a nightbox?

I'll add to this:

A big difference between the 2 is space. In a large indoor enclosure the torts can move away from CHE. They can still be warm from it without being directly underneath it. In a smaller area (like a night house) they are directly under the CHE. I learned the hard way how this negatively affects shell growth.
My humid raised leopard was perfectly smooth through his first year. After he turned 1 I moved him outdoors full time for the day and only brought him in at night. Since he no longer needed the large indoor space I converted a 10gallon aquarium into a humid night box for him.
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I thought it was perfect..until I noticed the 2 scutes on his back towards the but start to spike. The exact spot that was under the CHE at all times as his face was in a corner. After using this set up for a while (and learning about the desiccating effects of the CHE from @lilacdragon ) I realized the CHE was drying out that growth regardless of the high humidity in the other areas of the tank. I ditched the 10gallon and set up a large tote for a night chamber. Still used a CHE on thermostat but they slept away from the CHE.
My leopard is now no longer perfectly smooth...but still pretty smooth when compared to others. And smooth everywhere except those 2 small spikes...
Now dry new growth margins from living outside is one thing, but what I saw happen to his smooth growth from the CHE is a different story. I'll NEVER use a CHE in closed quarters ever again.

Hope this helps :)
 

erdavis

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I'll add to this:

A big difference between the 2 is space. In a large indoor enclosure the torts can move away from CHE. They can still be warm from it without being directly underneath it. In a smaller area (like a night house) they are directly under the CHE. I learned the hard way how this negatively affects shell growth.
My humid raised leopard was perfectly smooth through his first year. After he turned 1 I moved him outdoors full time for the day and only brought him in at night. Since he no longer needed the large indoor space I converted a 10gallon aquarium into a humid night box for him.
2zywxvr.jpg

I thought it was perfect..until I noticed the 2 scutes on his back towards the but start to spike. The exact spot that was under the CHE at all times as his face was in a corner. After using this set up for a while (and learning about the desiccating effects of the CHE from @lilacdragon ) I realized the CHE was drying out that growth regardless of the high humidity in the other areas of the tank. I ditched the 10gallon and set up a large tote for a night chamber. Still used a CHE on thermostat but they slept away from the CHE.
My leopard is now no longer perfectly smooth...but still pretty smooth when compared to others. And smooth everywhere except those 2 small spikes...
Now dry new growth margins from living outside is one thing, but what I saw happen to his smooth growth from the CHE is a different story. I'll NEVER use a CHE in closed quarters ever again.

Hope this helps :)
Thank you for this. It has put it into perspective and made me understand. So do you think that if I just put a mini oil filled radiant heater in this box and connected it to a thermostat, getting rid of the CHE completely, it would be better? I guess I don't know exactly how the heaters work besides the fact that they will heat the entire box without being so harsh right where the heater is. I will try to get one soon but I'm just trying to understand it a little better.. so if I understand correctly, the radiant heater won't cause as much humidity to be lost as the CHE would?
 

Team Gomberg

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What are the dimensions of that house? I use an oil filled radiator but those are used for bigger spaces. They take up a bit of room themselves.

My box is 4'x2' and is the smallest I'd go with using the oil radiator. If I had to do over I'd use it in a 4'x4' or bigger. Tom uses it in his 4' x8' boxes.

Now, in my house I have the oil radiator, vinyl lining the plywood floor and damp coco coir for the substrate. My humidity easily stays in the 60-70% range. It will spike into the 80%range after fresh water is added (once a week-10 days) but I don't want it that high in there constantly or I'll have to deal with mold.

Because my box is so well insulated, the heater hardly clicks on. When it does, the oil remains warm for quite some time, even after it shuts off...keeping it toasty in there with little energy.
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You can always looks into using a heat mat with a radiant heat panel over head. It works like the CHE but spreads the heat out over a larger area. The highly concentrated, focal point of the CHE's heat is what makes that not ideal and burn the carapace.
 
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