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Robin opossum gets her nestbox heater

Dec 13, 2008

 Robin opossum gets her nestbox heater

When it started getting cold here, I decided to make Robin a nestbox out of a large foam cooler. I figured that the foam would insulate and keep her body heat in which it has been doing very well. As it got colder, I moved her cage into the garage. It still gets cold out there so I have been keeping the house garage door open to keep the room warmer which hasnt been the most cost effective thing to do. When it finally got very cold out, I decided to sit her nestbox on top of a heating pad. The bad thing about that is most of the heat is wasted outside of the box from this oversized heater and the pad also shuts off after a few hours so a comfy temperature is not maintained.

So I did some digging and finally came up with a solution. I found a Zoo Med Repti Therm 6"x8" flat nichrome heating pad to put inside of her nestbox. This thing draws only 8 watts, but since it is inside, it doesnt really take much to warm up the foam box. Matter of fact, 8watts can collect a good amount of heat over time, so I also ordered a Repti Temp thermostat with probe to turn it off which does the job well.

While experimenting with this stuff, I ended up cutting and bending some sheet metal to be the floor and a wall which acts as a heatsink and reflector for the heating pad. Now the heat is distributed evenly inside and my South American critter is now efficiently and safely maintained at a comfy 82F and she can go out to cool off and get some exercise.

The system draws only 8 watts when heating and the thermostat turns it off when temperature is achieved which helps to saves money. I no longer have to heat the entire room for her or manually try to keep her warm with a cruddy human hot pad. The warm sealed box also retains humidity for her so ive already noticed her tail being much healthier looking and not a bit chapped.

I am happy about this new setup and I think she is too.


Here it is a few days later and we had a big cold front come through. It is 30F outside, 53F in the garage where the cage is wintering, and it is 82F in her nestbox thanks to this little amazing 8 watt nichrome heater on a thermostat. The hottest Ive seen it is 85F and that was her own body heat raising it past the set point.

I have also been trending power use using my plug-in watt meter. When operating, the pad seems to draw 9VA. Recording for 84.5 hours, the system has used .57kwh. That equates to an average 6.7 watts per hour when it is cold out, so the pad is obviously shutting off some even with these lower temps.


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avatar kazko
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NUTHOUSE (3) Pican 4/30/2002, died 6/02/2010 Buddy 5/01/2006 Hazel 2/01/2007, rehomed 11/28/2011 Maya 4/25/2007 Pili 4/25/2007 MISFITS (3) Big Guy 9/23/2003, died 1/29/2014 Lil Guy 9/23/2003, died 5/13/2015 Hunter 4/19/2006, died 3/23/2014 JP 8/12/2006 Shikoni 2004 Kioko 2003 Washi 2003, died 5/27/2014 SUGARSHACK (3) Chico 1/15/2006, died 9/14/2011 Cookie 10/15/2005 Kimmie 10/15/2005 Lucky 5/25/2007 Spritz 8/24/2007, died 7/06/2011 Ginger 8/24/2007, died 12/16/2012 Rock 9/09/2007, died 3/23/2013 Crystal 9/09/2007, died 11/01/2012


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