A day in the life of James Cavanaugh - or a few

Bubba is outside!

Last night was Bubba’s first night outside in his new enclosure.  Bubba is a Sulcata Tortoise.  He is still pretty small, but hopefully should start growing faster soon.  Now that I have him outside, he can graze on all the grass he wants, and bask in the natural sun.  His enclosure is set up so that half of it is under my deck and the other half has sun.  This was so that if it gets too hot, he can retreat back to the shade.  Under the deck I built a small house in which I put a ceramic heater and a thermostat, so that if it gets too cold, he can be sitting under the ceramic heater which should be set at about 75. Katie helped me prime and paint the house to keep it weather resistant, and the door is just big enough for Bubba now.  I plan to cut the door wider as Bubba grows.  Eventually I was thinking I would put a flap on the door to keep the heat inside, but I wanted Bubba to get used to going in and out before I did that.

I took some pictures of the build process, and the final product:

Items used in this project:

Ceramic heater. I chose a 150 watt heater since I wasn’t sure how cold it would get in the winter and wanted to make sure I had enough power. Also my theory is that since I will be using a thermostat to control it, it will be off more than at smaller heater would, and make up a little for the more power that it uses.

The Thermostat controller. It doesn’t have a digital temperature set, which would be huge benefit, but it was designed for this purpose essentially, and it wasn’t too expensive at around $30.

Since it didn’t have a digital temperature gauge on the Thermostat, I bought this separate digital thermometer, which I put in the same spot as the thermostat temperature sensor, so that I know essentially what temperature the thermostat is set to. Currently having it on pretty low is at 80.

I chose this light fixture for my ceramic heater since it is rated for 250 watts, and it is also designed for ceramic heaters. The last thing I want is a fire hazard, especially in a wood box in a dry climate like CA.

Anyways, Good luck if you decide to build something similar. I would like to get some feedback if you have improvement ideas and such.


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