Cinder Block Outdoor Tortoise Shelter Designs


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Mar 18, 2010
Location (City and/or State)
Orange County, California
I've posted a thread back in 2013 showing how I used easily accessible and inexpensive cinder blocks to build the outdoor hiding shelter for my little tortoise/turtles.

Two years have passed, and this material is still one of my favorites when it comes building the shelter for tortoises, and I've also discovered a few new ideas to build the shelters by using different combinations of the blocks and caps. I will show you how each of the shelter is built and provide a break down of the materials and required footprint.

1. Single Cinder Block Shelter: (1)8x8x16 cinder blocks + (5) 8x16 caps
Area: 16"Wx24"Dx8"H
This one was built back in 2013, and still holds up pretty well. My tortoise finds the top part of the shelter to be one of its favorite basking area.

2. Double Cinder Block Shelter: (2)8x8x16 cinder blocks + (7) 8x16 caps
Area: 32"Wx24"Dx8"H
Built in 2013 as well, suitable for bigger habitat and it can house 2-3 tortoises.

3. Single Cinder Block Cap Shelter: (3) 8x16 caps + 16"x16" ceramic tile or green house panel

Area: 16"Wx16"Dx8"H
This shelter is very easy to build by simply using (3) cinder block caps, Use two to form the walls on either side, and place one on top to weight down the shelter. Then simply place a piece of the tile or clear plex on top to cover the shelter. I use the clear plex in the winter to turn it into a green house shelter, then cover the plex with a piece of tile in the summer and it becomes a summer retreat for the tortoises.

This type of shelters has a smaller footprint so if you have a smaller habitat area, then this is the one you can build for your tortoises.

4. Double Entrance Cinder Block Shelter: (2)8x8x16 cinder blocks + Large Panels(plywood/clear plex)
Area: ~48"Wx16"Dx8"H
Now we are talking about upgrading the look over the simple grayish-looking block shelter. I place the two blocks on either side of this rectangular shelter, and now your tortoises will have two entrance for them to enter and exit. Next, measure the distance between the two blocks and cut up two panels, place one on top of the blocks as the ceiling, and place one in front of the blocks to complete the shelter. Now you got yourself a nice looking tortoise shelter.

5. Cinder Block Tortoise Habitat: Materials varied depends on the design
Area: TBD
This one is up to your imagination, and you can build your tortoise habitat with a mix of combination of blocks and caps. Here I have a closed habitat within an open habitat. Small tortoises would roam around the entire habitat during the day, and lock up inside the closed habitat at night.

Well...enough said on what you can do with the cinder blocks, and sky is the limited on what you can build for your little tortoises with the blocks and caps.

One last bonus, get creative with the shelter design, it doesn't always have to to be the cinder block. Sometimes what I found after the windy day on the street in my neighborhood can be a good resource as well...just stay creative.



Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Nov 15, 2014
Location (City and/or State)
I'm gonna copy some of these ideas in the future !


Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Dec 7, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
San Jose CA
Great idea ! ! ! ! ! !Love it.

Thank you for sharing! ! ! !

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