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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am new here, and have some questions, if i may.

Me and my wife have decided to get a tortoise, and have decided on a Leopard. She originally wanted a Sulcata, but I have convinced her we do not have the space for an adult Sulcata to be happy, and have compromised with a leopard tortoise.

We are new to Tortoise keeping, and eager to learn, and we're not looking to get a tortoise till next year, so we have plenty of time to learn and research first.

We plan on using a table at first, but how long will a table last for this larger breed of tortoise?
I ask about timespan, so i know how long i have to put the long term plan into action.

I intend to build a heated outdoor shed to serve as its lifetime home, once it is too big for a table. I am currently thinking 4x3m, and wondering whether this will suffice for 1 adult. It will of course have access to my garden in suitable weather, which has a grazing area of about 800sqft.

Please don't flame me, I am just seeking advice to help make sure we can offer the best care possible to our future pet. And yes, I know how long they live, but my 5 year old daughter assures me she will be happy to inherit it when me and my wife die, lol...

Thanks for any assistance, it is gratefully recieved.
 

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Welcome, I think it is great your have already looked into keeping your tortoise. The shed is going to be just the job, with an outside area, you are really talking the business here. One of the guys on here has just made a great setup with greenhouse attached. You have plenty time to get it all ready as you said you would use a table first.

The tortoise will need a soil substrate which is kept well sprayed for some humidity. Many use a combined lamp for basking. This cannot be used with a Habistat and when in the shed it may be better to have a lamp that will go off should it get too hot. In this case a seperate UV souce will be required.

I am sure you will get some aditional advice from other keepers on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the reply jeweled lady, i guess that means i am looking in the right directions.
Does anybody have suggestions on heating the shed, as i am thinking lamps alone would struggle to give me a consistent heat, and would also be very costly to run full time. I was thinking lamps would be used for basking/uvb supply, with a more efficient system of some kind to maintain the base temperature?
Ideally, I need to work out heating during the planning stage, so i can keep things neat and safe.
A PM has suggested i look at taking in a rehome from the tortoise trust, which is an avenue i am prepared to explore. Does anyone have any experience of this? I must admit I hadn't really considered it before, but i took in a crayfish that was gonna be flushed, and my kitchen wouldn't be the same without him scooting round in his tank, watching people and scaring the mother-in-law.
 

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the most important thing is insulation including the floor, and double glaze with perspex any window, once that's done your heating will be that much more effective. We insulated with loft insulation between the batons/framework of the shed followed by cheap hardboard, we then found that a tubular heater the length of the shed was enough for nights and two combined suspended through the day, our torts simply had the floor which had polystyrene then boarding. I could get the shed into the 80's f very quickly and didn't loose much. The exit's outside for the torts were as small as poss with heavy plastic hanging down and the torts pushed through, this helped prevent drafts getting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi ann, thanks for the response. Can i ask what size your shed is? Also, what are the running costs like?
I figured insulation would be the key factor, so I am going for a custom build. I will be using timber frames, with styrofoam between the joists, clad inside and out with hardboard. I shall then clad the outside with featheredge, for aesthetics and weatherproofing. I was thinking about a poured concrete base, and use styro again before booarding. i had also thought about a tiled floor for longevity, assuming i will need a substrate of some sort for the floor, as suggested by jeweled lady.
Windows/doors wise, people are now starting to replace upvc for cosmetic reasons, so perfectly usable windows and doors are being scrapped, so a freindly local window fitter will be keeping an eye out for me. This is another luxury of building custom, as i can stockpile the parts, and adjust the design to suit.
 

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we had to leave our shed when we moved last year but it was a 6x4, one thing we did look at was a form of underfloor heating, concrete is cold so you'd need something on top of it, ours had a trad wooden one then the poly then the board, the windows are best not opened as the shed should stay cool in the summer and warm/hot with the heating on. I think the tubulars are the cheapest to run but sorry I don't know the costs, you have to have uv of somesort and heat whichever way you do it, I suppose you could use red heat bulbs and strip uv but I'd imagine it would be about the same. Our bedding which was readigrass was put straight on the floor with the combined low down, we did think about a 'false'floor half way up as so much space above the torts was being heated as well but then you'd not be able to get in there but it was an idea. Torts at best are'nt very tall so the combined had to be low down and it would have been nice to keep the heat down near the floor but I know the insulation worked as the snow stayed on the roof. One way to keep the heat low would be to not make a full height building there'd be less air space to heat, but then you'd have to bend to go in, we've looked at those 'tool shed' types before the ones with the opening roof and thought they'd be a poss especially as you could have a clear perspex roof for summer which would allow the sun to do the heating and then just put the lift up roof down over it at night, plus you can get perspex which allows uv through so you'd save on the running costs. just an idea.
 

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I have my tortoises in the shed on the floor and lizards in vivs above but there is a lot of head room for heat to escape. Some of the tortoises have open vivs on the floor with their lights in them. This keeps an area very warm. So you could build something similar. I also use infra red lamps or ceramic at night if its very cold, say October/November. They are excellent especially the red and if the tortoises want they can sleep under, which they often do in cold weather, means they are ready to get up and eat in the morning no problem when the day light comes on. The flooring is vinal covered with wood chip. I also have a heater which kicks in when needed. What ever you do, heating is expensive, therefore for one tortoise over wintering, it would be more cost effective to have it indoors for the coldest months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jeweled lady, funny you should say that, i had considered moving some other animals into the shed as well. As I have finally convinced my wife that a bearded dragon would be a nice pet, i shall be getting one in the next few weeks. I had thought about constructing a large hide for the tortoise, and perspexing it up to the ceiling on top, thus creating a built in viv type setup. I just havent researched any possible health complications yet, so didnt want to mention what may never happen. I also thought about putting in a mini pond type setup in for my crayfish, as room temp water in that shed would be ideal for him. Think large shallow storage box, with plenty of footprint.

I figured i would have plenty of space at high level, and may as well take advantage of the heat i will already be paying for.
 

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Sounds a good idea as Leopards like a bit of humidity. Having a Bearded Dragon sounds good, then it will be something else. :whistling2:
I don't go in for them, I like my Lacertids, some live in outdoor vivaria, I could introduce you to Timon Lepida! I also have Skinks but everyone to their own!:2thumb:
 
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