Speedy's Outside enclosure

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Bex
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 06 Mar 2019, 06:51

Hi guys, so sorry I haven't been online but life just keeps taking over!

We are having to move and I have set up a 'hutch' outside for Speedy, as I have no room indoors for her! I have attached a pic.
She will have a 16x8 foot fenced off total grass enclosure just for her so I think she will be happy!

I have set up a power source and was gonna run a normal 100w 'light/heat bulb' during the day and have a 100w ceramic (no light) set at 17 degrees running overnight. I will fill the sleeping area with soil/sand so she can part bury herself and I will insulate it best I can but I am so worried about having a power cut and her temperature dropping! What is the lowest a sulcata can survive?

Thanx, Bex.
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Nina
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Nina » 06 Mar 2019, 09:45

Hi Bex,

Great to hear from you! I remember you built Speedy a really lovely indoor enclosure a couple of years ago -- but I guess that is too small for her now. It looks like you have built a very nice outdoor enclosure for her too, and 16' x 8' should last her for a while now (until she gets super big and can knock down walls and things ;) ).

I think if you are planning to keep her outdoors all year round then you will need to insulate that 'wendy house/hutch' really well, because if temperatures fall below zero then it will be very difficult to achieve a good temperature inside a wooden structure (and lots of heat will leak out that window and door). I'm not sure that a 100W bulb will be strong enough to get the required temperature of 30C in the daytime.

As Sulcatas don't tolerate cold and damp well, it looks like she might be in that house full time for most of the winter, so you do need temperatures to be warm enough for her to eat and digest her food. As far as I know, the temperature shouldn't fall below about 14C at night for a Sulcata, but Lin has great experience with Sullys and hopefully she will come on soon with some good advice. There is also some advice on housing in this care sheet for Sulcatas -- in case that is useful:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 202018.pdf
Would you have a brick built building, like a garage that she should go into in the winter?

The only other thing that I can see is I wonder if you should put boards up around the bottom of that little pen that is attached to the house (made of chicken wire) so that she can't see out of it. If tortoises can see out then they want to get out and will constantly try to get through something, whether it is glass or chicken wire.

I know how good you are at making a good environment for Speedy, and also how difficult it can get to provide the larger tortoises with year-round accommodation, so I'm confident you will come up with something, and this does seem a good start. Lin has much more knowledge than I do about this species, and I expect she will post something a bit later.

Cheers,
Nina

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lin
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by lin » 06 Mar 2019, 16:04

Hi Bex.
Nice to hear from you after such a long time and glad to know Speedy is good and good luck with the move.

Now, regarding the setups for sulcatas. Nina is right and the caresheet she sent is a good, accurate one, I know that because I wrote it :lol: along with a friend who also keeps sulcata in Scotland.

As you know sullys never get and smaller and in my opinion the only way to go is the biggest you can supply and afford. Mine were in a outhouse that was fully insulated, had electrics profesionally plumed in and heat night and day during all the months with the exception of the hottest part of summer. My thermostats were running all the heat supplies, lights and emitters all set to come on if the temps drop below 16°C of a night. It was a huge wooden indoor area of around 28ft x 17ft made with winter in mind and even that wasnt big enough for two large tortoises when the mood wasnt right - :roll: . Can you tell us the size of your enclosure?

As for power cuts. I wouldnt worry to much but you could use one of those calor gas heaters, secured and out of the way to prevent danger of tipping over or even a small petrol generator. However, to do this the housing will need to be much bigger overall. I must say that I never had any problems in the power depertment and if there was any power outages they didnt last to long and the outhouse didnt drop that cold.

If I havnt explained anything plainly enough Bex, please do get back to me.

Lin

Bex
Posts: 135
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 07 Mar 2019, 06:02

Thank you for your replies, as I've had to move quickly I haven't had time to plan and the wooden 'hutch' is temporary! I am going to see about a brick house once I'm settled etc.

The 'hutch' building is 1 metre square inside the sleeping area, it should warm up nicely as I am going to insulate inside and have thick tarpaulin stapled to the outside...it doesn't have to have the wire run on but I thought I would see if she wud come out into it b4 I got up and opened the main door for her. If she manages to get thru/destroy it then I will remove it! Also was worried about foxes so thought that wud help with security!

I will get higher watt bulbs and see how they do, will send pics once she's moved in!

Bex

Bex
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 27 Mar 2019, 14:38

As I am a born worrier I have put Speedy in the meter cupboard just for night time. It has no natural light and is only a metre square, but she seems happy in there! Luckily the weather has been ok so she's been out in the enclosure during the day. I have changed to a 150w bulb and it does get nice & warm. I have thick plastic strips to cover the doors/openings and will secure thick tarpaulin all outside when I get time!
I will also make the grass area better to explore with rocky mounds and walk thru tunnels etc to keep her entertained.

Anyway I thought you'd like to see her settling in....
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Nina
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Nina » 27 Mar 2019, 14:48

It's looking really good, Bex! I think it's right to keep her indoors (in the meter cupboard) at night for now, as it is still quite cold at night and we are still getting some frosts around here. Also, you don't want her to have a light on at night, and she doesn't have any other source of heat out there, so indoors for now seems fine. When you've insulated it all, etc. it would be good to have a thermometer inside her house, just to check on how cold it gets at night (you can get the digital fridge thermometers that have a max/min function so that you can see how hot and how cold it got since you last looked.

Sounds like your move went well (but are you thoroughly exhausted now?), and I hope you and Speedy are really happy in your new home!

Nina

P.S. LOL, the only problem I can forsee is when Speedy gets too big for that doorway! ;)

Bex
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 27 Mar 2019, 19:09

Thank you Nina, totally agree with the door but the shed is only temporary, will look into a brick, properly insulated house asap! We had to move so quick, I am exhausted but settling in now and all the animals are doing well.

Can't wait till summer, although happy the dandelions, sowthistle & plantain are growing well already lol :D

Bex

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lin
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by lin » 27 Mar 2019, 21:04

That is looking great Bex and I bet he enjoys the meter cupboard too, dark, warm and cozy...A sulcata dream. Once the sunner gets going you might want to think of a ceramic heat emmiter for the nights but that isnt until the temps raise some and he is outdoors 24/7.
Well done in your care for him. Your a star.

Lin

Bex
Posts: 135
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 29 Mar 2019, 20:49

Ty Lin, I want to give her the best possible life I can whilst she is in my care!

I was thinking of a ceramic emitter at night as they don't give off light, or a greenhouse tube heater. Then I can get a guard for it and have it lower down, will research and see what's best.

Its been lovely seeing her walk around, eating grass, doing her business outside (heaven for the grass to handle it and not my floors :lol: ) then get under her lamp for a while and then come out etc...all the neighbours love her and I have permission to pick their weeds anytime and we are right by a large grass area covered in dandelions and sow thistle...perfect 8-)

Bex.

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lin
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by lin » 29 Mar 2019, 21:24

The heater and tube are pretty much the same thing, one hangs like a bulb and one is more like a strip/tube - but do shop around because the prices are so up and down. I had a tube and because its long the area it heats is so much more and for night time its perfect for these biggies if they are sited in the sleeping area. They also go on a thermostat so they come on and go off at set temps.

It is so lovely watching them being real tortoises, isnt it.

Lin

Bex
Posts: 135
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 21 Apr 2019, 17:40

As the weathers been super, we got out there and made her a hidey hole! Dunno how long she'll fit in it tho :lol:
I planted the long grass but not sure if it will do better in a pot half sunk (for her to hide under) or leave it in the ground? Will decide 2moro...
Next is her cave/rockery....watch this space!
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Nina
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Nina » 21 Apr 2019, 18:10

It's looking really good, and I like the fact that Speedy is heading straight for her new lounging area. I have a half flower pot like that, and my Doris goes into it to chill out towards the end of the day, but Dolly completely ignores it. They do have strong preferences!

Nina

Bex
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 21 Apr 2019, 18:25

Enjoying the sunshine 8-)
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Nina
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Nina » 21 Apr 2019, 19:45

Living the good life, I'd say!

Nina

Bex
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Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 19:37

Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 15 May 2019, 18:44

Hi....hope everyone is enjoying this lovely weather 8-)

I've finally found a dish big enough for Speedy to have a bath outside, as she has outgrown the last one already!!
Dunno how long it will last tho.... :lol:
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Nina
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Nina » 15 May 2019, 19:41

Lovely photos! She looks so comfortable there -- isn't it super to see them relaxed and enjoying themselves!

Nina

Bex
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Re: Speedy's Outside enclosure

Post by Bex » 16 May 2019, 12:58

Yeah it's lovely!! I sat and watched her for ages and she spent all day in and out of it!!

I think the move was the best thing for her, she seems very happy now and even takes herself outside when she's woken up! She never did that before! And all the lovely weeds are growing well and there's plenty out and about when I walk the dogs, love this time of year 8-)

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