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Creating Outdoor Kiddie Pool Enclosure Help

BenDoc

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Nov 20, 2018
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Palm Bay, Florida
Hello, I tried searching through this forum for a thread that would give me all the info i need. It didn't work out as well as i hoped! LOL If you have links to some threads that will answer most of my questions, or threads that have pictures of what im trying to build that would be so helpful! I currently have a 4 and a half foot kiddie pool that i will be making into an outdoor enclosure for my Sulcata Tortoise. She is currently about 5 inches in shell length and is averaging between 325-350 grams. I have attached a photo of the kiddie pool i have. The rope that runs through the pool is so i can hook it up to my mini jeep and drag it around my yard so i dont kill any parts of my lawn lol. We are now out of winter so the nights only drop to high 70's and the mid days are getting into the high 90's so its perfect time to move her outside. After the kiddie pool gets too small then i will be constructing another outdoor enclosure using a decent chunk of my yard. I will be drilling multiple holes in the bottom of the pool so in case it rains the water can drain out of it. I will also be covering the pool with chicken wire of some sort due to the many stray cats that roam our street and the other wildlife in the area. So my questions are, 1. Do i need to line the inside of the pool with anything? 2. What should i fill it with? (I was thinking just normal dirt on the bottom and then the last few inches top soil to plant plants and grass) 3. What plants should i plant in there for her to munch on? 4. What should i have inside the pool? (hides, plants, water dish ect.?) Those are really about it as far as questions go! I am always open to different ideas and input from anyone! Thank you all in advance!

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Yvonne G

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I don't think the pool is big enough for a 5" sulcata. Once you add the 4 or 5 inches of substrate, the tortoise will be able to climb right out????

Let's get @Tom to chime in here.
 

BenDoc

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Nov 20, 2018
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Location (City and/or State)
Palm Bay, Florida
I don't think the pool is big enough for a 5" sulcata. Once you add the 4 or 5 inches of substrate, the tortoise will be able to climb right out????

Let's get @Tom to chime in here.

You may be right! lol it is 12 inches deep, so i was thinking about 2 inches of normal dirt and then about 3 inches or so of top soil for planting?
 

Yvonne G

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You may be right! lol it is 12 inches deep, so i was thinking about 2 inches of normal dirt and then about 3 inches or so of top soil for planting?
Try to imagine if he were standing on his tippy toes on his back legs and "reaching for the sky" with his front legs. After you add all that substrate, can he reach the top edge of the pool? All they need is to be able to get their toes over the top edge and they're outta' there!
 

BenDoc

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Palm Bay, Florida
Try to imagine if he were standing on his tippy toes on his back legs and "reaching for the sky" with his front legs. After you add all that substrate, can he reach the top edge of the pool? All they need is to be able to get their toes over the top edge and they're outta' there!
Hmmm that's a good point! I also would like to find out at what size should she start living full time outside? I could make the pool into a sunbathing ring for her on a daily basis if shes not big enough to live outside and then start figuring out how to construct an outdoor enclosure out of wood or cement blocks?
 

Yvonne G

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Here's what Tom says about moving them outside, "I move them outside full time, with a heated night box, when they reach 8-10".
When you start letting them live outside full time, you MUST make sure they are in their night box EVERY night."
 

BenDoc

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Palm Bay, Florida
Here's what Tom says about moving them outside, "I move them outside full time, with a heated night box, when they reach 8-10".
When you start letting them live outside full time, you MUST make sure they are in their night box EVERY night."
So basically go out there and move her from her current position to under her night hide? I'm assuming that would be after the sun has gone down completely lol
 

Tom

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At 5" that pool is already too small.

I would do two things:
  1. Maintain a 4x8' closed chamber inside for nights and cold or rainy days.
  2. Have a large outdoor enclosure with lots of plants for grazing, cover and shelter to use during favorable weather during the day.
Once the tortoise reaches 8-10" and the weather is good, meaning spring or summer, you can move the tortoise outside full time. You can get your heated night box built and put in place between now and then. Its a great idea to let the tortoise get used to the outside enclosure area and night box before they move outside full time. Here is one example of a night box that will work great for a single sulcata: https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/another-night-box-thread.88966/
 
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