building new enclosure!!

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PumpkinPie

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Hi All!! I just want to start by thanking you all for your help with my questions last fall when my tort began brumation.... all of your helpful suggestions not only were useful but put my mind at ease!! :)
Now it's spring and my little guy has woken up.. I spent all winter debating different ways to make an outdoor enclosure because we are renting our home for another year, and although we do have a nice roomy yard, I do not feel like the fence is tort proof.

After much pondering, I ordered the triangular/rectangular tortoise play-pen from Petco. (My tort is a juvenile so I think it should last him for years because he is small. Just a little larger than my hand)

Even though we are renting, and I don't feel comfortable going crazy making a super cool tortoise enclosure here, (which I still want to do) I still think that I can work with this one and make it cool so he has more room to roam and wander. I want to take the mesh out of the right side and then make a large playpin off of that made with stacked bricks or cinder blocks. Looking online I have gotten a lot of cool ideas, things that I feel comfortable doing here and then when I move in a year to a more permanent home I can get much more creative because I know that it will be more permanent.

The questions that I have before beginning construction, is what are the BEST plants to plant in my enclosure? Also, I have heard that sand can be bad to put in their pens because it can get into their digestive tract. Is that true? Because I have seen a lot of photos with sand and rocks. I am sure that is to create a pen like their natural habitat... I just want to do it right, and as of right now his pen is on grass but I planned on building the brick pen around both grass and compact dirt. Also, is sun/partial shade best or is direct sunlight better? It gets hot here in the summer so I thought that partial shade would be best.

Any suggestions and advice is so appreciated, from me and Patches :) Below is a pic of Patches in his new home today. It's just the beginning..... Thanks all!!! :D:tort:
 

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lynnedit

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Part shade, part sun is best, you are right. As long as their is a patch for them to warm up in, it is also helpful if they have a shady area to cool off in. Covering part of the concrete area with a piece of wood can help.
See if you can set part of it up over plain (untreated) dirt. You will have to trench the whole thing out a bit and sink some bricks or blocks down to avoid having him dig out. If you can set one side up against a foundation or wall, that save some digging.
He is very cute and looks great!
 

ascott

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So happy to hear all went well....if you don't mind me asking? where did you end up setting him up at for his brumation? did you soak him every couple of weeks or so? did he wake on his own by rustling about or did you pull him out? I always like to know how folks work the brumation successfully---it is always a good piece of information to me...

I want to take the mesh out of the right side and then make a large playpin off of that made with stacked bricks or cinder blocks.


I think that the cinder block enclosure or add on is a great idea...and if you design it a certain way you can then use chicken wire type fencing to place across the top for added safety....oh, I almost forgot :D I see in the pic that you have a water bowl...I believe you will want to replace that with a water saucer type set up---something that is big enough for your tort to walk into and lay in to self soak...the water bowl in the pic seems a bit too tall and also does not allow for self soaking...:p
 

PumpkinPie

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Angela,

You were one of the kind people who gave me such helpful advice when he began brumation! Thank you so much :) Yes, I soaked him every few weeks during the winter and it really put my mind at ease. He was sleeping in very large terrarium that I kept in our spare bedroom that we never use, so I was able to control the temps just for him during the winter. Once the spring weather started getting nice I opened the blinds to let the sunshine in, and started checking on him every day or two. Then about two weeks ago while doing my normal check on him, he was awake and slowly moving around! I fed him, and he ate a ton of leafy goodness. Now that he's awake, I notice that he still seems "sluggish" Not as active as he usually is, but definitely awake... not cornering into things like he does when he wants to sleep. I don't know if you remember, but last year when he was getting ready to brumate he kept sneaking into the house and roaming behind my washing machine. Well the first time we took him outside the other day and let him roam on the grass, the minute we turned around he made a B-Line inside the house and for the kitchen. I laughed when I realized, and watched to see that he in fact tried to go behind his good trusty washing machine.

Now that I have him out in his play-pen, he is staying mostly in the enclosed part which has wood floor. Is it normal for them to be "groggy" for a while after brumating for the winter?

Great idea about the water bowl!! I have never seen him drink water, but since you have advised me to soak him that totally makes sense, and it's a good way to cool off. I have noticed him put his leg in the water dish, but never drink from it so I will do that asap. How often should the water dish be changed out for fresh water?

Also, do you think a little sand/gravel is ok for his new enclosure or should I avoid it? I have been looking at a lot of pics of other peoples enclosures to get ideas and some people use it and some don't. I heard from the man who I rescued my tort from that sand is bad because it can get into their GI tract. what do you think?

Anyways, thanks again for the tips so much. You are so nice to help people out, it really shows how much you care about all of our little shelled friends. Have a great day!!! :shy::tort:

ascott said:
So happy to hear all went well....if you don't mind me asking? where did you end up setting him up at for his brumation? did you soak him every couple of weeks or so? did he wake on his own by rustling about or did you pull him out? I always like to know how folks work the brumation successfully---it is always a good piece of information to me...

I want to take the mesh out of the right side and then make a large playpin off of that made with stacked bricks or cinder blocks.


I think that the cinder block enclosure or add on is a great idea...and if you design it a certain way you can then use chicken wire type fencing to place across the top for added safety....oh, I almost forgot :D I see in the pic that you have a water bowl...I believe you will want to replace that with a water saucer type set up---something that is big enough for your tort to walk into and lay in to self soak...the water bowl in the pic seems a bit too tall and also does not allow for self soaking...:p
 

lynnedit

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I use gravel in my outside enclosure because it absorbs warmth, and is great for drainage. You can use larger river rock (they sell bags at places like Home Depot), if you are worried about him ingesting stones. However, in their native environment, of course, there are lots of stones and gravel!
In addition to his water bowl (which you can change out when it does look clean and clear, might not be every day), have you been soaking him in warm water every day to get his system 'going'? Since he is sluggish, you might want to do this every day for a week or two.
 
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