Vysal Ltd is one of leading manufacturers of electric underfloor heating equipment and supplies large quantities to new build and renovation projects in the UK and overseas. Most of these are houses, offices and commercial premises but sometimes a new challenge arises.
One such project recently was for a special exhibit in the Reptile House at ZSL London Zoo. Instead of warming the soles of human feet, the needs were to provide a special environment for the Galapagos Tortoises on display to make them feel right at home, despite being thousands of miles from their homeland on the equator to the west of Equador in South America. In their native environment, the tortoises, which can grow to over 400kg with a length exceeding 1.8m, often seek out mud wallows or rain-formed pools to regulate their temperature and to protect them from parasites and it was this habitat that the ZSL experts wanted to recreate for their charges.
Richard LutwycheHowever, such pools in London would be too cold for these reptiles and thus it was deemed necessary to provide heating that would give constant temperatures. With this in mind, Dr Ian Stephen, Curator of Herpetology at ZSL London Zoo, requested that Vysal design a scheme and build it into the new facility. Comprising a heated mat installed under the pool and throughout the enclosure and controlled by a Vysal programmable digital thermostat, this simple but effective answer provided the ideal solution.
The Galapagos Tortoise has declined in numbers from over 250,000 in the 16th century to around 3,000 today. The decline was caused by hunting for tortoise meat and oil, habitat clearance for agriculture, and the introduction of non-native animals such as rats, goats and pigs which predate upon the tortoise’s eggs. It is therefore vital that responsible zoos do everything possible to try and replicate ideal conditions for them so that captive breeding programmes may one day help to restore numbers and move them from their ‘Vulnerable’ status to a safer category, something Vysal Ltd is delighted to assist with.
Speaking from ZSL London Zoo, Dr Stephen, said: “We have been extremely pleased with the Vysal under floor heating products here at the Reptile House. In our Giants of the Galapagos exhibit we use them as both under floor heating and pond heating. Their customer services are great for providing support during the planning stages and of course advice when selecting the right products. We have run the heating for several years now and found it to be 100% reliable. I’d certainly consider using Vysal products again in the future.” This is the third project where Vysal have supplied under floor heating systems to ZSL London Zoo, the first two being for gorillas and sloths.
Vysal offer a “Lifetime Guarantee” with their under floor heating products which was generally reckoned to be in human terms, around 70 years. However, the Galapagos Tortoises live to about 170 so will the guarantee be withdrawn? No, Vysal are happy to stand by their product and in this special case, at least, the warranty is extended!