PXL_20230610_215055281.jpg
Thank you for sharing, I've been thinking of trying something similar. It's hard to tell from the Photo, roughly how far back does that go, and what are the opening dimensions? Our tortoise has been using a 12inch clay pot partially buried so it does not tip over. I like the rock cave a lot better.
 
Thank you for sharing, I've been thinking of trying something similar. It's hard to tell from the Photo, roughly how far back does that go, and what are the opening dimensions? Our tortoise has been using a 12inch clay pot partially buried so it does not tip over. I like the rock cave a lot better.
I used three approximately 12 inch by 12 inch by 2 inch thick sandstone paving stones for the roof. I sorted through the stack at Home Depot and found three that almost fit together like a puzzle so they make a nearly solid roof, and with between 4 inches (at the front) and 18+ inches (at the back) of dirt on top, he's sealed in there nicely and the back of the cave stays around 70F even when the outside air temperature is over 100F and the surface dirt temperature gets as high as 125-130F.

The sides at the entrance are a couple of sandstone rocks that we found at our cabin that are about 8 inches tall (the way they are sitting in the picture and maybe about 12-15 inches long from front to back, to make a somewhat natural looking entrance to the cave. The entrance tunnel is about 9 inches wide between the two stones. It's probably more than he needs, but it worked out with the available rocks, and gives him room to easily turn around anywhere in the tunnel if he wants to.

The rest of the cave walls are made up of some spare old construction bricks stacked two high to be about the same height as the entrance stones, and then spread out to make a slightly more circular 'nest' that is about 14 inches across at the back to let him easily move around and turn around.

The bottom of the cave is just bare natural dirt. But it is the REALLY hard sandy nasty clay that we have everywhere here so he can scratch at it as much as he wants to but he probably won't ever manage to do more than make small dents in it so there's no risk of him tunneling out below the bricks and getting himself stuck. Using a pickaxe, a powered auger, and lots of water, it took me the better part of two afternoons to dig out the space for the cave enough that I could put the stones and bricks into place. I couldn't do anything more than take small chips out of the soil with a regular shovel.

From the front lip of the roof to the inside of the back wall is just about 30 inches. I'm not sure exactly, but it's whatever worked out with the three roof tiles, and if I lay down flat on the ground with my shoulder into the entrance I can just barely reach all the way to the back to grab Hermes to pull him out if I ever need to. Some day I need to get one of those "reach assist" grabbing tools with soft jaws at the end so I can grab him without having to get quite so dirty...
 
Ohh perfect, thank you very much, that helps a lot! I didn't think about the floor and digging, but we also have a wonderfully sandy adobe clay type material!, El_Merlin can dig as much as he wants... :)

This is great, thank you again, the details and dimensions really helped with what I need to look for!
 
You're welcome! Ever since I (i.e. my wife) decided where the outdoor enclosure was going to be, with a section where the ground has a significant slope, I knew that I wanted to put a "cave" in it. I'm pretty pleased with how it turns out, and Hermes seems to like it as well. He still naps in partial sunlight under plants some of the time, but he uses the cave quite a lot so I guess he approves. :)
 

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Hermes' Home
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Michael Bird
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Google Pixel 7
Aperture
ƒ/1.85
Focal length
6.8 mm
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1/286 second(s)
ISO
47
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Filename
PXL_20230610_215055281.jpg
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Date taken
Sat, 10 June 2023 3:50 PM
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