Adult Red Footed Tortoise Table

WrinklyTortoiseNeck

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Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and wanted some (ok, a lot) of advice on a tortoise table for a red foot. I recently moved back in with my parents and noticed that their adult red footed tortoise, Bozo, was way too big for his vivarium. I believe he's fully grown as he's about 12 years old. I would have liked to buy a bigger vivarium, but decently sized enclosures are around 1k which I'm not willing to pay. We are willing to build a tortoise table since it seems like it'd be cheaper than the alternative. I'm planning on building an enclosed tortoise table since it'd very dry in the Midwest now that it's getting cooler and I would like to have a more hands off approach to maintaining the appropriate high humidity for Bozo. I'm thinking of making a sort of greenhouse by building a frame overtop and layering over some sort of sheeting or PVC. I've heard that mold is a possibility with an enclosed space but would varnishing the wood be enough to prevent this? I have a general idea of the design, but are there any blueprints or layouts that could help guide me more? I've heard people using pine for the wood more so than other types. Why is that?

I have a few other questions regarding the closure. Do you guys have both a UV light and night heat lamp in your enclosures or just keep the UV on 24/7? I plan on building a section in the table that would be sheltered from all light but didn't know if it'd be beneficial to have the entire enclosure dark at the night. Do you guys have experience with including live plants in red foot enclosures? That sounds like it'd be a neat idea but I want to know if any of the risks are more of a hassle than a benefit. Is spritzing the substrate plus heat lamp enough to maintain humidity or should I look into a humidifier.

Thanks!
 

WrinklyTortoiseNeck

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A table is way too small for a 12 year old. He should have a good sized room for an enclosure. Is there a reason he is not outside?
@ZEROPILOT
As I mentioned, I live in the Midwest so the temperature outside right now is way too cold and is only going to get worse until around March/April of next year. My understanding is that a tortoise table isn't a set size so I was planning on making it like 8ft x 5ft or something like that. I can't dedicate a whole room for him but I have lots of room in the living room.
 

wellington

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As I mentioned, I live in the Midwest so the temperature outside right now is way too cold and is only going to get worse until around March/April of next year. My understanding is that a tortoise table isn't a set size so I was planning on making it like 8ft x 5ft or something like that. I can't dedicate a whole room for him but I have lots of room in the living room.
I see, most people won't build a big enough table. I don't know if that would be big enough or not but it's just for winter right?
 

WrinklyTortoiseNeck

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I see, most people won't build a big enough table. I don't know if that would be big enough or not but it's just for winter right?
Well, we do usually let him out and walk around more in the apartment when it's more warm and humid out. We also keep him out on an enclosed porch for the hottest months. I'm more concerned with providing an adequate indoor enclosure because most of our outdoor weather is inappropriate for his species.
 

ZEROPILOT

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A table is way too small for a 12 year old. He should have a good sized room for an enclosure. Is there a reason he is not outside?
@ZEROPILOT
As large as you can is the best you can do.
But indoors, it will be extremely difficult to match the warmth and humidity that this species requires for good health.
Provide UV light, temps from 80 to 86ish and feed a varied diet. And consider some outdoors time when the weather allows it.
 

Armadillogroomer

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It wouldn't be ideal for a permenant habitat, but a grow tent that is laid on its side or an indoor greenhouse can get you through the winter. You should be able to find a decent sized one for under 200(US).

These setups only need an occasional spritz because they hold in humidity well. Breathing in the heavier droplets from a humidifier can cause a URI, so if you already bought one, use it sparingly.

You will need a 24/7 heat source, preferably with a thermostat so it can kick off if the ambient temp gets too warm.

The UV only needs to be on for 8 to 12 hours a day. You can still make a hidey spot (I used the top dome from a Booda cat box) or use fake plants, but burrowing down is their preferred way to go to bed, so give him lots of substrate. Lay a tarp before you place the substrate for easy clean up!
 

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