Lois' New House

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Feylin

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Here's the story. In all the years I've had Lois, the only time I've been satisfied with her house was when she was a baby and could live in her 60gal aquarium. Since then she's lived in everything from a cement mixing tub, to a kiddy pool, to a constructed wooden frame tortoise table, to her own room. None of it works. She wants to be able to see me and have room to pace and rearrange her mulch (anyone else have obsessive compulsive mulch-rearrangers??) and I want her to have the right humidity and temperature.

Lois is not so much an escape artist as she is stubborn. She knows how to push mulch over to the sides of the pool to make a ramp and then climb out. She shoved so hard at the corners of the wooden tortoise table that she managed to loosen the nails. She hates being able to see out and not being able to GET OUT. Plus she wants to be hanging out in whatever room I'm in so she can watch me. If i'm in the room where her house is she's ok, but if I move she can't walk after me and then she gets mad.

So I'm at my wits end trying to make something work for her. All the options I had tried didn't work. I've seen other reptile enclosures that looked good, but the tortoises were babies or required me to remodel a room (I rent). Eventually, I will own my own house and I'll remodel a room into a greenhouse for her to take over.

Recently, I adopted 3 guinea pigs and learned all about taking care of them. There's a website for making their houses: www.guineapigcages.com out of some pretty inexpensive materials. All you need is a few sets of those shelves made from wire grids and Coroplast (plastic used to make signs). While I was building the house for the guinea pigs, Lois was wildly jealous. She kept getting in the way and trying to climb inside their house. The coroplast comes in bright colors and I think she liked looking at the green and red.

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Since she seemed to like it, and I could cut the plastic high enough to cover the grids (she likes to stuff her face in between each and every one) I decided to try it. So, sorry for the long pre-story!

Here's how I made her house. I had to make it weird shape to fit in my tiny little apartment living room.

Step 1: Cut the coroplast to fit the general space (it comes in huge sheets). Try and keep the overexcited tortoise from getting in the way.
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Step 2: Lay out the floor shape you need. I had to bend a grid to get the angle I wanted. You can't see that until the next picture.
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Step 3: Attach the floor panels and then the walls with zip ties. I bought the largest size to make the connections as strong as possible. You can see how many I put on each grid.
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Step 4: Cut and fold the Coroplast to fit inside the grids. Tape all the junctions with clear tape. I taped all the corners and rough spots to keep them from scratching Lois.
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Step 5: Fill with mulch, add tortoise and accessories. Don't even think about taking nice pictures because the tortoise can't possibly hold still until all the mulch has been organized properly.
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She promptly found the one section where I dont have coroplast (the heater tried to melt it). You can see the blankie my Grandma made her draped over the hide area.
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So. Can you see any problems with it? I'd appreciate any thing you guys see or want to suggest. She's been in there for about 2 weeks and hasn't broken down the walls yet. She comes out every day and has plenty of time to get exercise (since she goes to school with me). We'll see how it goes when I have to change out the mulch!
 

Itort

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This looks good but the one question I have is the ceremic heat emiter the heater that melted the coroplast? If so I would try fiberglass shower surround panel in that area.
 

Feylin

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Yes, that's the ceramic heater that caused the trouble. I think I'm going to go to Lowes and try to get them to cut me a strip of that fiberglass stuff. Thanks1
 

jenrell23

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Do you have a basking bulb or uvb bulb? You could also try pond liners or tarps. P.S. Mine all re arrange there bedding in some way.
 

Feylin

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Well, there is a full spectrum light bulb for her but when I pluged it in the bulb exploded!! I'm in the process of getting a new one from Petsmart. This is the second light (Fleukers) that's exploded (the first one blew up when Lois was under it) and I DONT' want a replacement. They don't want to just give me my money back. Since it was almost $100 to get the whole setup I'm not giving up.

Lois thinks tarps are tasty blue things to chew on, unfortunately.
 
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