Custom Coffee Table Enclosure!

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mgreen

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Well, I finally got around to spend 3 days creating a new indoor enclosure for our mature red foot tortoise, Bubbles. She was previously in a 40 gallon tank which was getting too small for her mature size. I customized our old coffee table into an enclosure! There are two 10.0 UVB fixtures on a 12 hour timer cycle and one 100W red incandescent bulb connected with a rheostat in a dome lamp cut in half mounted inside the enclosure. The floor of the table (under the repti-bark substrate) has been sprayed with 2 coats of Flex Seal, which is a rubberized coating that is waterproof to keep the wood floor from rotting out and leaking. There are openings in the glass on either table end for ventilation and to let me put my hand inside to lift the 2 top glass pieces for maintenance, etc. I have attached pictures; the only thing I still need to do is place a plastic plant in the corner where the wires are showing.

So far, Bubbles seems to be quite happy in her new enclosure as she readily eats, poops and is quite social with the humans occasionally sitting on the couch next to the table! She sometimes migrates directly under the red lamp to bask; a behavior that I did not observe in her previously as the dome lamp used to sit up high on the top of her 40 ga tank.

So, what say you all?
 

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Yvonne G

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Well, its a beautiful table, and quite the conversation piece, but I kinda' feel sorry for a full grown tortoise that can't live outside.

Are you able to moisten the substrate? Also, can she climb into the waterer and soak?

The main thing is that the tortoise seems to like it. After all, that's what it's made for, right?
 

mgreen

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Another picture...Bubbles New Home 005.JPG

emysemys said:
Well, its a beautiful table, and quite the conversation piece, but I kinda' feel sorry for a full grown tortoise that can't live outside.

Are you able to moisten the substrate? Also, can she climb into the waterer and soak?

The main thing is that the tortoise seems to like it. After all, that's what it's made for, right?

Yes...and yes again!
 
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Jacqui

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So this is just a "when she has to be inside" sorta of enclosure? I feel hot and dry, when I look at the picture. How about adding more plants and making it more jungley feeling? I do love the enclosure itself, I just would have thought it was for something smaller. ;)
 

ascott

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So this is just a "when she has to be inside" sorta of enclosure? I feel hot and dry, when I look at the picture. How about adding more plants and making it more jungley feeling? I do love the enclosure itself, I just would have thought it was for something smaller.

Ditto.....I have always absolutely loved the conceptional idea of this type of enclosure.....by the way, absolutely lovely tort....:D
 

RonHays

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It's really awesome but I agree with the other posters... I would just put her in there only if I absolutely had to.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Definitely very creative!

In short, I agree with what others have said: its rather small for a tortoise that size, and I'd try to make it more humid and more jungley in there.

Personally, I would have made the short sides almost completely closed off, and just glued a couple small knobs on the small pieces so I could left them off. It would close up the enclosure more, retaining more humidity and heat in there.

But still, awesome job on it, and I think this would be a great size for hatchling tortoises!
 

mgreen

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Those pictures were taken just after completion and before the substrate was thoroughly moistened. I intend to install plastic plants also. Bubbles gets weekly soaks in the laundry sink and gets taken outside occasionally on hot days in an enclosed planter box area in our back yard, but the coffee table will be her permanent home.

BTW, I did think about completely closing off the sides but that would close off ALL ventilation. And yes, the flex seal comes in a can and just sprays on; instant rubberized surface, just like on TV! I did use 2 cans; one can per coat ($12 ea x 2). Ace Hardware and Denault's now has Flex Seal for retail sale.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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mgreen said:
BTW, I did think about completely closing off the sides but that would close off ALL ventilation.

Do note that I said almost in my first post. ;). In most closed enclosures, there is typically just enough ventilation via gaps between doors and lids that it is not suggested to deliberately make more ventilation holes. However, in this particular case, where the glass is kind of inset into the wood, this wouldn't do.

[NOTE: I know you've pretty much completed your enclosure by now. I'm just elaborating for the benefit of anyone who reads this in the future and wants to play with the design a bit]

Instead of glass, I might have just used wood for the two ends. My reasons are twofold: 1) I could drill a few holes in the wood to allow some ventilation, and 2) it would act as a visual barrier, and may reduce a little stress since the enclosure is pretty much transparent on all 4-sides. Using wood would make it only visible on 2 sides (and of course, the top).

mgreen said:
Bubbles gets weekly soaks in the laundry sink and gets taken outside occasionally on hot days in an enclosed planter box area in our back yard, but the coffee table will be her permanent home.

I hate to belabor the point, but just curious...is there a reason she couldn't have an outdoor pen to spend most of her time? Space perhaps?

I know it gets hot, but there's definitely ways to combat that easily in an outdoor pen (shelters, lots of plants, etc). We get pretty hot summers here on the Gulf Coast, too, but we have several people down here who keep redfoots outside most of the year (a couple on this forum).
 

mgreen

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StudentoftheReptile said:
mgreen said:
BTW, I did think about completely closing off the sides but that would close off ALL ventilation.

Do note that I said almost in my first post. ;). In most closed enclosures, there is typically just enough ventilation via gaps between doors and lids that it is not suggested to deliberately make more ventilation holes. However, in this particular case, where the glass is kind of inset into the wood, this wouldn't do.

[NOTE: I know you've pretty much completed your enclosure by now. I'm just elaborating for the benefit of anyone who reads this in the future and wants to play with the design a bit]

Instead of glass, I might have just used wood for the two ends. My reasons are twofold: 1) I could drill a few holes in the wood to allow some ventilation, and 2) it would act as a visual barrier, and may reduce a little stress since the enclosure is pretty much transparent on all 4-sides. Using wood would make it only visible on 2 sides (and of course, the top).

mgreen said:
Bubbles gets weekly soaks in the laundry sink and gets taken outside occasionally on hot days in an enclosed planter box area in our back yard, but the coffee table will be her permanent home.

I hate to belabor the point, but just curious...is there a reason she couldn't have an outdoor pen to spend most of her time? Space perhaps?

I know it gets hot, but there's definitely ways to combat that easily in an outdoor pen (shelters, lots of plants, etc). We get pretty hot summers here on the Gulf Coast, too, but we have several people down here who keep redfoots outside most of the year (a couple on this forum).



Like you say, you're on the gulf coast---very humid there so outside wouldn't be such a problem as would be here. Where we live the most humidity we get is about 60-70% and that is considered high!
 

wellington

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I think it looks nice. However, I think it is cruel. She is way to big to have to live the majority of her life in a way too small a table for her size. It seems to me, you are putting the coolness of it over the tortoise happiness, and the right to roam a yard, graze and just get some fresh air every day when it is warm enough to do so. Most places right now has summer and warm weather. Where do you live that she isn't outside every day, not just when you feel like it. Sorry, I can't agree with this kind of husbandry, just plain cruel!
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Well...I'm pretty certain there's some members here from southern CA as well who keep redfoots. Maybe they'll chime in with some insight soon enough.
 

68merc

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Awesome enclosure for hermit crabs! Poor tortoise. When the smell of poop and pee gets to you while you're watching TV I hope you will rethink this. Your tortoise needs to be outside!
 

EP429

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Agreed. Great idea, great workmanship, bad home for it's inhabitant. I would love to have something like this for a box-turtle maybe, but it's just plain wrong for an adult redfoot
 

wellington

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mgreen said:
StudentoftheReptile said:
mgreen said:
BTW, I did think about completely closing off the sides but that would close off ALL ventilation.

Do note that I said almost in my first post. ;). In most closed enclosures, there is typically just enough ventilation via gaps between doors and lids that it is not suggested to deliberately make more ventilation holes. However, in this particular case, where the glass is kind of inset into the wood, this wouldn't do.

[NOTE: I know you've pretty much completed your enclosure by now. I'm just elaborating for the benefit of anyone who reads this in the future and wants to play with the design a bit]

Instead of glass, I might have just used wood for the two ends. My reasons are twofold: 1) I could drill a few holes in the wood to allow some ventilation, and 2) it would act as a visual barrier, and may reduce a little stress since the enclosure is pretty much transparent on all 4-sides. Using wood would make it only visible on 2
sides (and of course, the top).

mgreen said:
Bubbles gets weekly soaks in the laundry sink and gets taken outside occasionally on hot days in an enclosed planter box area in our back yard, but the coffee table will be her permanent home.
I hate to belabor the point, but just curious...is there a reason she couldn't have an outdoor pen to spend most of her time? Space perhaps?

I know it gets hot, but there's definitely ways to combat that easily in an outdoor pen (shelters, lots of plants, etc). We get pretty hot summers here on the Gulf Coast, too, but we have several people down here who keep redfoots outside most
of the year (a couple on this forum).



Like you say, you're on the gulf coast---very humid there so outside wouldn't be such a problem as would be here. Where we live the most humidity we get is
about 60-70% and that is considered high!



That humidity isn' bad. So, you have to do a little more daily work. I really can't believe you think this is an okay way to keep that size of a tortoise. We look down and get angry with people on Craigs List for this kind of care, and small enclosures, and they aren't even members of this forum to know better, like you are. This is cruel no matter how you look at it or what kind of spin you try to put on it.
 

ascott

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I live in california, high desert. The humidity here is like well, none most days. I have here in my care four Redfoot Torts...two under a year and the other two, not sure but they are about 6 inches in length and really pyramided (came that way...but they are gorgeous to me just the same)...I am sure the pyramiding was due to improper humidity, lack of sun and diet....a guess on my part totally.

At present they are all too small to live out 100% of the time (as the night temps drop still (although there have been the days of the awesome 80 degree plus nights)....so they all go out about every day for a few hours each...however, when they come inside they have a significant space set aside for them....it is important that your tort has adequate space in and outside....

I think that enclosure is a cool idea, really I do. However, if that is where the tort is suppose to stay always when indoors and that is what you can provide at this time....I would change out some of the substrate to allow for a more soil type substrate, I would add your plants you spoke of (and plant heavily in a couple of the corners)and once you do that I believe you could remove the log hide, as it takes up alot of valuable space....and let your tort use the planted areas as a hide....I would also put a flat soaking saucer in the enclosure dead center so that your tort can get to moisture on a daily basis...once a week soaking is just not sufficient for this species of tort---especially if there is no high humidity nor soaking dish....

Hey, I am not saying that the enclosure can not work (sometimes we have some limitations)...but you will really need to doll it up for the tort to feel like she is not so exposed...also if you have a female they have the desire more so to dig about in the soil/substrate...so you certainly can make the enclosure more tort friendly---just remember that this is a humidity loving/needing species which means heavy planting/hiding area soaking option and soil to settle into.... :D
 

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I applaud you for your craftsmanship, however I agree with the previous responses. I hope you don't feel ganged up on here, but an adult redfoot tortoise really should have more room and the best scenario would be an outdoor enclosure that is secure from people and predators. I hope you're taking our constructive criticism in stride.

TerryO has an excellent article written on Madkins007 site for creating a stimulating indoor enclosure. You may be interested in reading this article:
http://tortoiselibrary.com/ - On the side bar it's located under "C-Housing", "7b Planting an interesting habitat". There's some nice pictures concluding the article.

Standard size recommendations in Europe are 8 shell lengths by 4 lengths, translating to ~ 8x4 foot enclosure for one adult. Other sources say 6x4 is adequate (http://www.chelonia.org/articles/redfootcare.htm), but I think this is a bit too tight. The bigger the better and the benefits of outdoor grazing, sun, and fresh air are limitless.
 

Missy

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It is very nice looking and way better than the 40 gal set up. I use a fogger in my yearlings enclosure and it works great and looks pretty cool too. I have it on a timer. I do agree it is to small if he/she has to stay in there most of the time but hay I have an idea, you could make that tort a bigger enclosure and get lizard for that really cool enclosure:)
 

newtortoisemom

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I'm new to tortoise ownership, however I too feel bad for this guy. Seems like he would keep running into the glass. Not big enough for him and his own odors might get to him. Also do not use plastic plants, he will try and eat them (they try n sample anything green). Live plants are best! I see u live in CA ...the weather there would be perfect for an outdoor enclosure (much more suitable for him). I live in IN so I don't have the option of outdoor living year around. Get this guy outside :)
 
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