Enclosure Location

Use this forum to discuss any aspect of tortoise housing and enclosures. Upload and show pictures of your set ups (enclosures).
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KellyP
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 18 Sep 2018, 13:44

We are new to tortoise owning and have two young tortoises. I know that as babies they sleep a lot and also they slow down at this time of year too. However, I am wondering whether the enclosure is too hot as they seem to be sleeping alot. The location of the enclosure is in a sunny bay window and so they are getting lots of light and warmth at the moment with how the weather has been but I have the heat lamp on also. When the sunning is coming in on the table, do I need the heat lamp on or is this likely to be making it too hot thus causing aestivation potentially?

Thanks in advance

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lin
Posts: 545
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by lin » 18 Sep 2018, 14:26

Hi Kelly, and congratulations on the two babies you have. It would be great to see a photo of then if you can, we love the babies.

Can I ask what species they are, and what the temps are at the hot end under the heat lamp, and cooler end of the enclosure (assuming its an open top table. The temp is best taken with a digital thermomiter, under the hot spot about the height of the toroises shell.

If you have a photo of the setup we will be able to look and maybe let you know of any tweaks you can adjust to make a difference if there are any.

Look forward to your getting back to us.

Lin

KellyP
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 18 Sep 2018, 21:47

Hi Lin

I have one of those hand held gun stlye thermometer that has a little laser pointer - is that what you mean?

Will measure tomorrow when light is on and sun out (ypu watch - it will be rainy tomorrow now.

Picture of my new babies attached. Will do a proper table photo tomorrow too.
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KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 18 Sep 2018, 21:49

A few more
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Nina
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by Nina » 18 Sep 2018, 22:18

Hi Kelly,

What lovely little tortoises! And it looks like you are making a nice home for them.

It's really important to know the temperature in your table, and I use one of those digital fridge thermometers -- the kind with a display unit and then a long cord with a probe on the end. You can suspend the probe so that it is directly below the heat source, at the height of the tortoise's shell and that gives a good reading. Something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Thermo ... hermometer is useful because it has a Max/Min feature, so that you can see how hot it got or how cold it got since you last re-set the feature. What you are aiming for is a temperature of about 30C (not much higher) at the hot end, directly under the lamp, and about 20C at the cool end (and no heat at night). If your table gets strong sunlight on it, then it is possible that it is getting hotter than 30C in the table and that could be making your tortoises sleepy and less active.

Just a small suggestion, wood chips aren't the greatest substrate to use for tortoises, as they can be very drying, but also can get mouldy if the tortoise wees on them and the wee doesn't dry up quickly. And pine wood chips can give off slightly toxic fumes if they get very hot. In the wild, tortoises live on a sort of sandy soil, so we find that the best substrate is a mixture of sterilised topsoil and children's playsand, mixed about 50/50, and you can buy bags of this at most garden centres or places like Homebase. We make it 3" or 4" deep (or even deeper if possible) and give it a light spray every couple of days to keep it from getting dusty, and it is much easier to keep clean if the tortoise wees or poos on it.

Nina

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by lin » 18 Sep 2018, 22:33

Hi Kelly.
I did answer this a while ago but I dont know where it has gone.

To cut it short I went on to say how adorable your two little horsfields are and do you know how old they are?
I also asked you if you minded if I make a suggestion and said about the substrate you have for them to sit on can make the shells and skin very dry and most of the keepers use either the coco coir or childrens playsand and topsoil.

And yes, the gun thermomiter is ok if you have a tortoise under there so you can measure the shell temps but I do know that Nina prefers the digital ones used in fridges with the probe.

Look forward to seeing the pics tomorrow.
Lin


KellyP wrote:
> Hi Lin
>
> I have one of those hand held gun stlye thermometer that has a little laser
> pointer - is that what you mean?
>
> Will measure tomorrow when light is on and sun out (ypu watch - it will be
> rainy tomorrow now.
>
> Picture of my new babies attached. Will do a proper table photo tomorrow
> too.

KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 18 Sep 2018, 22:54

Thanks Lin - that is helpful. Been using woodchips as it what breeder recommended as they were eating the soil when she was using it. Am planning to have different areas within the table with different substrates - is that recommended or not really fussed either way.

They are about 4 months old - one likes head rubbed the other a little more wary but coming out of her shell more (no pun intended). I am a bit of a worry wort in making sure I do the best by them. I think the area where the lamp is is getting much hotter than 30C - when I tested the ground temp it was much hotter than that and so assume even hotter on top of the shell.

I will get one of those thermometers but in meantime will have to make do with what I have.

More info tomorrow. Apologies for the sideways photos - hadn't realised until I just came on here.

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lin
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by lin » 19 Sep 2018, 10:38

Different substrated is sure worth a thought. Stones and pebbles (not the gravel) will give them something to clamber over, excersize their muscles and keel their mails in trim. A slate to eat off of will keep their beak in trim and the sppd can also be put on the stones so they have to hunt and find their food. They can also be used to surround a water dish so it keeps slightly cleaner.
Re the substrate. As long as its being passed it means its not being held inside of causing compaction. Look at how nature in their own habitat intended them to live. Lots of hills, rocks to climb, food has to be found, and the substrate...well that leaves a lot to be desired...its almost all sand with a little earth sprinkled in - lol. Nobodt cuts the spines off the cacti, its not laid out on a plate and water isnt in a dish, its in a hold if theyre lucky - lol. Makes you wonder how they survived along with the dinosaurs.

$ months...wow, they look older than that but I do think you are 100% right in the heat being to high and there looks to be nothing they can get away from it. Dig down and hide so they will try and shut off by going into a corner and sleep. Do you find they are active early and later of during the day. Can you see a pattern in their habits.

I dont know if you have seen the setup soneone has made I put on the FB page a few weeks ago. I thought it was amazing. I will see if I can get it over to here for you.
[attachment=0]40563196_1897910650256592_2352797039097544704_n.jpg[/attachment]
I know thats not an option for you but just so you can see what I mean about digging down and substrate.

I wonder if for now you can place your heat right towards the opposite end of the enclosure in one corner so they can go there to back. If it is quite warm outside then maybe try turning off the heat until we can get this sorted.

Lin
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KellyP
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 11:39

Thanks for your comments. I attach photos - the enclosure is a lityle bare at moment as only had them a week and trying to work out how to design it still.

I can’t move the lights as they are fixed in the position unless I buy another free standing one.

I also need to order the thermometer suggests above so only able to measure ground temp at moment - 37 under the lamp so assume is warmer on their shell as closer to the lamp.

The table is also near a radiator and the sunlight coming in.

In terms of behaviour - one of them wakes up in the morning at te same time, has a bask and then eats (bathing when done happens between basking and eating). The other Inhave to ge up in the mornkng (she would literally sleep all day I think). Then they go back to bed, either in covered area or under the bendy tunnel thing).
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Nina
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by Nina » 19 Sep 2018, 11:54

Hi Kelly,

That's a nice little tortoise table that you have, and I think it has the potential to be a really good enclosure. Your idea for different textures for the tortoise to walk on is excellent. You could also put some good sized rocks in the table or other things so that the tortoises can't see from one end of the enclosure to the other uninterrupted -- it's good to have things that they have to walk over and around.

I see the problem with the light fixtures, but I think they should be OK. I'm assuming that the bulb that looks like one of those twisty low energy bulbs is your UVB source. It's really important that you make some sort of covering so that you do not look directly into it, as the UVB can damage your eyes. You can buy a shield that just clips onto the top of the bulb to protect your eyes, or you could just make something out of aluminium foil and loosely cover the top (make a little arc of it to go over the top). Is the other lamp an ordinary household bulb? That is fine too, and it is already sort of at one end so there is room for the tortoises to go to the other end to get away from the heat. However 37C is way too hot and actually dangerous for the tortoises. Because you can't change the height of the heat bulb, I would suggest getting a lower wattage bulb, at least for now, until it gets colder. And you could try moving the table out of the direct sunlight from the window too. Or if the sunlight is very warm coming in from the window then you could turn the lamp off for a while.

Their behaviour sounds OK -- and babies do sleep a lot -- but that excessive heat could be what is making them a bit lethargic. Have a go at trying to get the temperature down and see if that makes a difference. When you are measuring the temperature, it's best to measure the temperature of the air at the height of their shells, rather than the temperature of their shell (which is why I don't use my temperature gun that often and prefer to use the probe on the digital thermometer, but I know that many people dol like using the guns.

Sorry to bombard you with information -- you've got lovely tortoises and I think they are going to have a great home with you.

Nina

KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 12:04

Wow! Thank you for such a quick response. Operation tortoise table begins this weekend. 😄🐢

I thought that about the wattage - good to get confirmation. Can UV Bulbs be bought that protect the eyes are are they all dangerous to eyes and need covering?

Have thought about moving the table to so will consider some different options in the house.

Thank you again. Just turned the bulb off for a bit as sun coming in.

KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 12:17

Wow! Thank you for such a quick response. Operation tortoise table begins this weekend. 😄🐢

I thought that about the wattage - good to get confirmation. Can UV Bulbs be bought that protect the eyes are are they all dangerous to eyes and need covering?

Have thought about moving the table to so will consider some different options in the house.

Thank you again. Just turned the bulb off for a bit as sun coming in.

KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 12:18

Is this what you mean for UV bulbz

Have turned heat lamp off and one of them now up and about just in the sunlight :D
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KellyP
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 12:19

And loves the rocks i just put in

KellyP
Posts: 20
Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 12:20

Oic didn’t attach
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Nina
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by Nina » 19 Sep 2018, 13:18

It's looking great! And I love your designer lampshade for the UVB. Yes all UVB can damage the eyes if you look into it. That is why it is always advised to hang it above the tortoise (their eyelids protect their eyes like ours do), rather than on the inside of the table where the tortoise could look directly into it. And of course you were looking directly down into it, but with that foil you are safe now. An added benefit of having that aluminium foil over the bulb means that more of the rays it produces will be directed down into the table rather than up and out.

It's really great that you want to improve their home, and it is really only little tweaks that will do it, so you've basically got the right set-up.

What are their names, by the way? The are such cuties that I think they must have lovely names!

Nina

KellyP
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Joined: 18 Sep 2018, 13:41

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 14:02

Cassiopeia (Cassie for short - tortoise from the book Momo but I’m sure you know that) and Rosie

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Nina
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by Nina » 19 Sep 2018, 14:34

Aww, I was right -- they do have lovely names! Give Cassie and Rosie a tickle under the chin from me. It will be interesting to see if they do turn out to be female. You can incubate for females or males (sex is determined by the temperature in incubation), but it's not foolproof. My Doris was originally called Boris! It's difficult to tell the sex of a tortoise until they are about 5 or 6 years old (or of a sufficient size), but you can sometimes hazard a guess by looking at the shape of the anal scute and the look of the tail from underneath.

Nina

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lin
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Enclosure Location

Post by lin » 19 Sep 2018, 18:05

I love the names you have but no matter how much you look at the underside you wont be able to tell the sex at 4m old - lol. They need to be around 4 - 6 yrs old to be sure.

I also have a Rosie. here she is and its defo a girl - lol
Lin

[attachment=0]Lin Roberts.JPG[/attachment]
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KellyP
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by KellyP » 19 Sep 2018, 20:24

He he - will be an interesting rename if they turn out to be boys. Will wait and see. Breeder thought girls but she also said can never be definite.

They have had a more active day today sunce turning iff the heat lamp and giving some rocks to clamber over - kept walking to and fro over them - funny things!

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lin
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Re: Enclosure Location

Post by lin » 19 Sep 2018, 21:03

Oh thats good news they are finding things of interest to do. Odd how tortoises get bored and need to settle although they love to explore new objects in their space.
I think we are almost there Kelly.
Fine tuning the temps is the next project - :lol:

Lin

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