On Sunday, due to the colder weather and overcast skies, I put a ceramic overhead heater in Frankie's enclosure. When Greg insulated his enclosure this last summer, he set it up just so I could put in the ceramic heater. Still, I was nervous. It could get too hot and scald his top shell, cause a fire or, even do its job and keep him warm when it gets cold outside. I just couldn't take any chances.
When I installed the ceramic heater, I made sure that the "S" hooks were pinched so that the heater could not accidentally fall from the top. I set the thermostat to 70º F so if the temperature got any higher the heater would turn off. I went back inside and set a timer for 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later I go outside and open the enclosure. The heater has not fallen. There is heat radiating. The top of Frankie's shell is warm. Hmm, maybe i should turn the temperature to 75ºF. I do. I go back inside and turn the timer to 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes later I go outside and open the enclosure. Frankie gazes up to me puzzled by all the attention. His shell is a bit more warmer. I am feeling a bit more brave. I turn the temperature to 80ºF. Close the enclosure, go back inside. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
Thirty minutes later I go back outside. I open the enclosure. Frankie gives me another puzzled look. I check his back. Nice and warm. Things are working well. I go back inside.
Through out the day, I check hourly to see that the system is working. Frankie starts giving me annoyed looks.
At 4:00 pm, Frankie's normal bedtime, I go outside and check again. Frankie has shifted position to his "head-in-the-corner-time-to-sleep" position. With some difficulty he cranks his head around to see who is bothering him this time. "What NOW?" Frankie looks my way. I close the enclosure and go back inside.
At 6:00 pm, it's getting dark so I go out to see if the enclosure is holding heat. I open the top. Frankie ignores me this time. Things are fine. I close the top and return inside.
At 8:00 pm, it's completely dark outside, and I have to check one more time. I go outside and open the enclosure. Frankie gives me a dirty look. I move the hay around so that it sits against the front door to keep drafts from getting in. I close the enclosure and go back inside.
At 9:45 pm I am still worried about the heating system, safety, and if Frankie is comfortable. I go outside. I open the top. This time Frankie gives the old "startled" jolt and bumps into the side of his enclosure which tells me he was deep into dreaming and I have rudely waken him up. I have probably **** him off. This time he gives me an unmistakeably look of annoyance. "What can I say, I am worried." I am not sure Frankie believes me.
Okay, I didn't check again all night. But I was up at 6:45 am and headed outside in my pajamas to see how the night went. I open the top. It's nice and warm. Frankie slowly opens his sleepy eyes, "Oh, it's you. Again. Of course. Go away." I close the top. I return to go make coffee and eat some breakfast.
Yep, I will be out again later to make sure everything is okay. It's what sulcata owner's do.