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How Big Should My Sulcata's Yard Be?

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by Yvonne G, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    ATTENTION, EVERYONE: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR SULCATA'S ENCLOSURE TO THIS THREAD!

    My Sulcata, Dudley, weighs 110lbs. He spent the first part of his grown up years in a breeding situation in Bakersfield, and came to me about 15 or 20 years ago as a 35 pounder. He has always lived in this yard, and doesn't know that there's a different world, or more to the world, outside his fence. So, he has never tried to break down the fence to get out. However, when I first put him in there, I had it divided into three sections.

    Having owned a few head of cattle and several horses in the past, I knew about pasture management and rotating the animals to allow sections to grow. I guess cows and horses aren't as smart as sulcatas, because I could rotate the livestock through the different sections of pasture and they were fine with it, but when I tried to rotate Dudley through the different sections, he KNEW there was other grass beyond the fence, and he kept breaking it down to get to the other sections. I finally gave up and took one fence down completely, leaving the other fence partially up. This fence makes his yard bigger because he has to walk around it to get to the rest of his yard.

    The length of Dudley's yard is ten 8' sections of fence, or 80'.
    sulcata yard a.jpg


    The width of the yard is four 8' sections, or 32'.
    sulcata yard b.jpg

    The sight barrier fence:
    sulcata yard c.jpg

    That's 2560 square feet of grazing land for one 110lb tortoise. And yet, he STILL marches up and down the length of the south fence. This picture shows his path:
    sulcata yard d.jpg

    I occasionally have to take the string trimmer to the edges along the bottom of the fences, but I NEVER have to mow his yard. He keeps it trimmed just as you see it in these pictures.

    Occasionally I'll toss him a couple branches off the mulberry tree, or a section of grape vine, and if I have any greens left over from feeding the other tortoises, he gets the left-overs, but he has lived and eaten in this yard for many years and doesn't have any health problems, except for the sides of his beak growing a bit long (I've tried to trim it, and I'm able to grab ahold with the wire cutters, but as soon as I apply pressure he jerks away and I'm not strong enough to cut through that beak).

    Dudley's pasture consists of weeds and dead grass in the winter, springtime grasses and weeds in the spring, and Bermuda grass, alive and dead, in the summer and fall (Bermuda grass comes originally from Africa).
  2. orv

    orv Well-Known Member

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    Shoot, Yvonne, I raised three kids in a 1500 sq. ft. home. They never complained (about that, anyway). Do you think I abused them by not giving them enough space?
  3. Jacqui

    Jacqui Wanna be raiser of Lemon Drop tortoises Moderator 10 Year Member!

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    I am jealous of no lawn mowing. I am work on a much larger enclosure for my four biggest ones, but they can't even keep up with their current enclosure. 20180528_095902.jpg
    Jay Bagley and Pearly like this.
  4. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Supporter

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    Most assuredly!
    Pearly likes this.
  5. orv

    orv Well-Known Member

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    I'm chagrinned. They're all in their 40's now, with teens of thir own. ( picture me grinning). They don't seem to have been too badly abused.
    Pearly likes this.
  6. mrnewberry

    mrnewberry Well-Known Member

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    That seems like a pretty good size for the tortoise as the grass isn’t too tall and there isn’t too much bare dirt. (Not that I have had any sulcatas.) It just looks like he is mowing it just about right.
  7. Pearly

    Pearly Well-Known Member

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    I love how he has trotted the path along that South fence! can just picture him patrolling it up and down, and up and down
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