How to Heat a Tortoise Enclosure

12 mins read

Last Updated on September 16, 2022

There are many different ways to heat your tortoise’s enclosure. Heat resisting cables, Heat lamps, Space heaters, and even plants can all be used to warm your tortoise’s enclosure. Below are some tips to help you warm up your tortoise’s enclosure and keep it comfortable for your pet. Remember to monitor your tortoise to prevent accidents. You can also watch out for burrowing, which can be dangerous for your tortoise.

Heat resisting cables

When purchasing electrical fixtures for a tortoise enclosure, make sure to select heat-resistant cables. Not only do these cables provide a source of basking heat for tortoises, but they also pose a fire hazard. Tortoises are incredibly strong and can knock over heating elements or damage fuses and circuit-breakers. To avoid fires, make sure that all heating elements are firmly bolted down, and use a professional cable installer. If a heating element is too hot or too cold for a tortoise, he can get fatally burned.

Tortoises need to maintain a temperature range of 74-80 degrees during the day, with the basking site ideally at 82-90 degrees. Adding an under tank heater or heat cable will help maintain the appropriate daytime temperature for tortoises. If the enclosure is bigger than an aquarium tank, you should use ram-resistant bricks for stability. A custom-built wooden enclosure is needed for a Sulcata tortoise.

Another way to add heat to a tortoise enclosure is to add UVB lighting. Tortoises can see color and some infrared light, but they are not accustomed to reptile lights. A combination bulb that provides UVB light for eight hours a day can be beneficial for your tortoise, but it is important to ensure that the bulb is positioned correctly so that the UVB rays shine downward.

Heat lamps

Depending on which species of tortoise you have, you may need to use different types of heat lamps in their enclosure. European species typically do not require heat lamps. They are used to provide natural light in summer, but are also susceptible to a lack of UVB light. While these are not as life-threatening as heat lamps, it is still beneficial to provide UVB light at all times, particularly for female tortoises and young ones.

A good rule of thumb is to leave the heat lamp on for no longer than 12 hours per day. If you leave it on for longer than this, your tortoise may become dehydrated or even suffer heat stroke, which can cause death. A heat lamp for tortoise enclosure is designed to provide the ideal temperature for your pet. The ideal temperature range will vary with the species of tortoise, but these lamps are important in maintaining the proper temperature for your pet.

When using heat lamps for tortoise enclosures, the bulb should be placed on the opposite end of the cage from the hide. If possible, position the lamp at a height of 10 to 12 inches above the substrate. If you place it any higher, you’ll reduce the heat produced. If you put the lamp too close to the tortoise, it could cause eye irritation or blindness. So, positioning the lamp in the appropriate place will minimize the risk of eye irritation.

Space heaters

There are several different types of space heaters to heat a tortoiss enclosure. While heat mats are more cost-effective and have built-in thermostats, you may need to purchase an additional thermostat for ceramic heat emitters. If you purchase space heaters with thermostats, you should check that they are properly set and work as designed before you use them. Also, make sure to purchase a thermostat-controlled model, as dial thermometers are not very accurate.

Other heat sources include heat lamps. These are also economical, as a 100-watt reptile radiant heat panel will cover much more space than an 80-watt CHE. Floor heating is controversial among tortoise keepers. Some recommend placing small under-tank heaters or a larger pig blanket under the turtle. Others recommend using overhead heat sources, because they feel bottom heat is unnatural for a tortoise.

In addition to using space heaters to heat a tortoisen enclosure, you can also buy lamps with different wavelengths of light. For example, you can get a lamp that emits both UVA and IR light, or a combined UV-B-IR source. Or you can buy an all-in-one unit. Whatever you choose, make sure that the temperature under the heat source is around 30degC, while the opposite side of the enclosure should be 20degC.


For healthy tortoises, it is important to provide fresh, nutritious food. Plants such as alfalfa, chickweed, mulberry leaves, grape leaves, bindweed, and nipplewort are excellent sources of calcium. You should also provide native plants such as globemallow and clover. These can be easily removed and placed in a shallow puddle at the bottom of the enclosure.

If your tortoise lives outdoors, build an enclosure that provides ample sunlight. Place a soil patch or stone area for extra heat storage. A south-facing slope is the best location. It will be your tortoise’s permanent home from spring until hibernation, and you can always extend it as your tortoise grows. If you can’t afford a separate enclosure for your tortoise, consider purchasing a large plastic cage instead.

If possible, provide separate food and water bowls. The food bowl should be placed far from the heat source. If you are using plants, you can also use a 22-inch glow and grow. Plants are a better choice than a fluorescent bulb. In terms of humidity, your tortoise should be kept between thirty and sixty percent humidity. A higher humidity level can cause respiratory problems, so don’t overdo it.

To keep your tortoise safe during the winter, make sure your tortoise’s environment has the right temperature. The temperature is too low outdoors, and they cannot hibernate safely. Fortunately, you can keep your tortoise warm and comfortable with plants and water. You’ll find it easier to keep your tortoise happy and healthy if you make some simple adjustments.

Adding visual barriers

The first step in building a proper tortoise enclosure is to identify the area in which the cage will be placed. A suitable enclosure should be at least 12 inches high and four feet square. The walls can be made of hardware cloth, which is heavy metal mesh. Cut six-inch squares from the four-foot square sheet and bend them over the sides. Place the enclosure in a partially shaded area. Keep in mind the position of the sun to avoid allowing too much heat to enter the enclosure.

Another consideration when building a tortoise enclosure is temperature. If the temperature is too high, the tortoise will begin to degenerate and enter estivation, which is an indefinite stage of decline in health. This can be prevented by providing a slightly moistened substrate. The other option is to use dry earth or desert sand as substrate. In both cases, the tortoise enclosure should be large enough to accommodate both a temperature range and a visual barrier.

In addition to the visual barriers, the pen should be well-stocked with grasses and weeds for the tortoise to graze on. To plant the tortoise’s favorite plants, you can purchase grass seeds or plant them yourself. Many weeds are edible and can be included in the tortoise’s diet. Large logs of trees are also good options for decoration. Large grasses are planted in the pen to provide shade.

Using a thermometer

Using a thermometer to heat southwestern Florida’s climate is easy and effective. Indoor heating is not necessary when the enclosure is insulated and has a good venting system. But if the outside temperature is too cold for the tortoise, it may need to be brought inside during winter. If you do not want to keep your tortoise indoors all winter, consider using an outdoor enclosure.

To warm the enclosure, you must place the bulb halfway between the front and the back walls and a similar distance from the end wall. Temperatures in nature are higher during night than in most homes, so a tortoise enclosure needs a bit of nighttime heat. The ideal temperature for nighttime temperatures is about 72degF. However, it is possible to create a heated area on a tortoise’s back by placing weeds on the substrate.

Various thermometers and hygrometers can give different temperatures. Using one of the two will allow you to keep track of the temperature over a longer period of time. Make sure to measure the temperature at both ends of the enclosure and also the substrate. For easy access anywhere, you can also use a WiFi gateway. These wireless thermometers will allow you to measure the temperature on your tortoise’s enclosure without having to be at the location.

About The Author

Mindy Vu is a part time shoe model and professional mum. She loves to cook and has been proclaimed the best cook in the world by her friends and family. She adores her pet dog Twinkie, and is happily married to her books.