Building a tortoise cave/box

SGT Fish

Active Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
102
Location (City and/or State)
Columbus, Ohio
so ive been making these little caves/basking spots for my other reptiles and im about to start on a large one for Frank the tank, my 8yr old rescue sulcata. he is only about 11 inches right now so this should last him at least through the winter. I will post pictures as I go.

basically, you take a syrofoam cooler, or just sheets of styrofaom, and glue them in the rough shape of a cave. Use a hot glue gun to save time but ive been using elmers glue with good luck. Dont use superglue or any other toxic glue as it will eat through the styrofoam. I may even reinforce this next one with wood strips because it will be larger than any ive built so far. I also plan to mold in a cheap ficture for a CHE and my temp probe on my thermostat.

next you fill in all your voids and cracks with spray foam. it is called "great stuff" and comes in a can from walmart of home depot. After that dries you can carve your caves final shape with a serated knife. If you are making a large cave, try to design it so that it doesnt bend too much. Use a lot of glue so that it doesnt fall apart after the next step.

Buy some sanded grout from the flooring/tile department. I buy a decent size bag for 15 bucks. Youll mix it with water so that it is a soupy consistency. Paint it on the foam cave with a big brush, you want to try to put as thick of a coat as you can on it. take your time and do the inside and out to totally cover the foam. Ill be doing at least three coats to keep it strong so that Frank doesnt destroy it. After all the coats have been applied and it is dry you should have a gray concrete looking rock.

i have been using "stone texture" paint from home depot to give them a natural look. but it is better to use a concrete dye to mix in with your grout. that way you dont have to paint it, they sell terra cotta color dye. But ive had good luck with spray paint to make it look natural.

the last step is to seal the grout. try to find a good waterbased sealer to protect the grout. this will make your cave last a long time. seal everything to protect your critter.


pictures to come, stay tuned
 

SGT Fish

Active Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
102
Location (City and/or State)
Columbus, Ohio
You can see one of my smaller caves in the corner of my big beardie cage.
 

Attachments

  • 20150911_183211.jpg
    20150911_183211.jpg
    3.1 MB · Views: 42

SGT Fish

Active Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
102
Location (City and/or State)
Columbus, Ohio
Here is what they look like after you cover them in grout. Kinda bland looking but still functional.
 

Attachments

  • 20150826_184113.jpg
    20150826_184113.jpg
    6 MB · Views: 37

SGT Fish

Active Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
102
Location (City and/or State)
Columbus, Ohio
And here is Frank munching on some dinner. You can see he has bad pyramiding and what looks like the start of mbd. I've been giving him calcium and lots of sun, hopino it will grow smooth here on out. My GF's mom sent a pic of him to her neighbor that has a large sulcata. She acted like we were dumb for getting him cuz he is in this condition. I guess some people don't care for the less fortunate animals. He was given to me and I will take care of him to improve his health. He is such a wonderful pet and super active.
 

Attachments

  • 20150911_204059.jpg
    20150911_204059.jpg
    2.1 MB · Views: 25

ZEROPILOT

REDFOOT WRANGLER
Moderator
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
26,201
Location (City and/or State)
South Eastern Florida (U.S.A.)/Rock Hill S.C.
Thanks, SGT Fish.
I'm a fan of the look. I'd like to see if it holds up to the smashing and thrashing of a growing Sulcata.....And unfortunately, I know from experience that tortoises like to eat exposed styro-foam.
I see you also like motorcycles. Great minds think alike.
 
Top