Leopard Tortoise Enclosure

Neal

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The backyard projects continue here at the Butler Homestead. My latest project is the leopard tortoise pen, which seems a bit silly because leopards are #1 in my book and yet I've waited so long to give them any sort of proper enclosure. They have simply had free range of the backyard for the most part. Before ya'll get your pitchforks out, just know that I have nothing in my backyard that would be a danger or threat to them and I do not advocate free range. I understand it is not ideal, but it was simply the best option for us and the tortoises.

Anyway, this will be a long process and hopefully I'll provide some continuous updates.

I'm not ready to show the entire area publicly just yet, but here's a sample shot of where the border will be and what I am working on currently. The plan is to have the border 4 ft from the edge of the grass area on the right side of the picture. The border will run the entire length of the yard.

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In total, I would say the area is probably 4,000sq. ft., so it should do the job for several adults. Mind the kiddie pool, I set it out to dry overnight before storing it and didn't think to move it for my picture. Too late now.

The first thing to do is remove the concrete benches placed by the prior homeowner. I really like these concrete benches, not the color so much, but the concept is solid.

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This first one wasn't in the way, but I wanted to use the flagstone on top, so it had to go. 5lb sledge and small chisel took care of the top portion without any damage. Yay the bricks are only filled with dirt, this should be easy!

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First layer was a piece of cake. Some bricks on the bottom layer was randomly filled with cement, but not too difficult to remove them.

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1st bench gone and all cleaned up. It's like it was never there.

Next thing to do is install the border.

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I thought long about what to use as a border. I'm not a huge fan of concrete blocks for a lot of reasons, and I don't really have the time to do anything extremely fancy, so 2*8's are the easy and safe option for now. I plan on building new concrete benches eventually, placing them in the space where the border cuts into the pen area. The simpler option would have been to just build the border around the existing bench, but it's not what I wanted.

I'm not sure how I feel about the 2*2 corner pieces. In my mind I thought it would look better than overlapping the corners, but now I'm not so sure. We'll see after it progresses.

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The bricks in the second bench were filled with concrete, so I had to rent a jackhammer. Lotsa fun!

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Here's how it looks right now all leveled off and sturdy. The next step is to start removing the existing rock on the tortoise side. I'll wait till the fall to start on rebuilding the concrete benches.

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And yep, the trampoline is on the tortoise side of the enclosure. That's where the wife says it needs to go so the kids can have the grass area. It won't be there forever and if anything, it will provide some shade for them.

Check out my fig tree in the background. That guy has been with me for about two years and has all but three leaves on it! Hang in there little fella!
 
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Yvonne G

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I love having a project. Once it's all done, you'll wonder what to do with yourself!
 

wellington

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I'm trying to think how the trampoline can be repurposed as a tortoise high rise LOL
Looking really good. Glad your putting benches back. I thought they were a great place to sit and watch the torts.
I wish my yard was more level. It's big, but trying to level a bunch of grass, weeds and clay below them isn't easy.
Keep updates coming, I love seeing these kinds of threads.
 

Jacqui

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Check out my fig tree in the background. That guy has been with me for about two years and has all but three leaves on it! Hang in there little fella!

lol that reminds me of the one I had for a couple of years, before finally killing it.
 
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