Need Burrow Advice

OliveW

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Should I just permanently remove my sully's burrow? Like just fill it in and block the area until he gets used to it? Can they be happy without a burrow?

We have made his enclosure much larger, something we hadn't planned to do until next year. He has now moved up from 12' x 24' to a 24' x 44' with a built in night box. He has adjusted to the night box MUCH easier than I anticipated, and of course he has access to it during the day as well. He's locked in at night. I keep it at 80 degrees, with two heaters and two extra Bluetooth temperature sensors w/alarms to my phone.

We used materials that had his burrow safe from rodents to build out his new and improved home. While his burrow is still within his enclosure, anything that can get over the wall could go down there at night. So now, he's not allowed to sleep down there even in the summer.

This is coming up this evening because he went down his burrow earlier, and I was positive he wouldn't be out again tonight. Usually 5 pm is his bed time. To my surprise, he only spent a short time down there, and came back out to be safely put into his night box. It's getting down to 60 degrees tonight, and in the 30's - 40's every night for the next ten days. Needless to say, his burrow is currently well blocked to ensure this can't happen tomorrow, or anytime soon.
 

Tim Carlisle

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Just my opinion, but I don't discourage mine from burrowing. It's what comes natural to them. As long as the burrow is safe, I let it go. If it's along a fenceline, I will fill with rocks/concrete blocks to discourage burrowing in that particular area. :)
 

Tom

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Should I just permanently remove my sully's burrow? Like just fill it in and block the area until he gets used to it? Can they be happy without a burrow?

We have made his enclosure much larger, something we hadn't planned to do until next year. He has now moved up from 12' x 24' to a 24' x 44' with a built in night box. He has adjusted to the night box MUCH easier than I anticipated, and of course he has access to it during the day as well. He's locked in at night. I keep it at 80 degrees, with two heaters and two extra Bluetooth temperature sensors w/alarms to my phone.

We used materials that had his burrow safe from rodents to build out his new and improved home. While his burrow is still within his enclosure, anything that can get over the wall could go down there at night. So now, he's not allowed to sleep down there even in the summer.

This is coming up this evening because he went down his burrow earlier, and I was positive he wouldn't be out again tonight. Usually 5 pm is his bed time. To my surprise, he only spent a short time down there, and came back out to be safely put into his night box. It's getting down to 60 degrees tonight, and in the 30's - 40's every night for the next ten days. Needless to say, his burrow is currently well blocked to ensure this can't happen tomorrow, or anytime soon.
Burrows are the best way for them to live in hot weather. Burrows are not suitable during cold weather.
 

OliveW

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Branford, FL
So, looks like the burrow is staying.

How do you guys protect your torts while sleeping in burrows in the summer months? I had a cage on it, so he could come up and have a couple square feet of ground, if he happened to wake before we took it off. It was rodent proof, but he could see out it.

That is now incorporated into his house, holding heaters. His house was built different than Tom's as we used a large raised planter, that my husband built out of scrap wood around here, as the roof. We will still use it as a planter, the soil layer makes great insulation, and the planter is extremely heavy duty. I keep plants in it that I want everyday access to from the kitchen, while I'm cooking, so it's near the house. Big garden is further away.

Is it safe to just let them down in their burrow in the summer, with no rodent/racoon protection? I know rodents usually look for places when it gets colder outside, but would feel better knowing nothing can get down his hole while he's down there.
 

Tom

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So, looks like the burrow is staying.

How do you guys protect your torts while sleeping in burrows in the summer months? I had a cage on it, so he could come up and have a couple square feet of ground, if he happened to wake before we took it off. It was rodent proof, but he could see out it.

That is now incorporated into his house, holding heaters. His house was built different than Tom's as we used a large raised planter, that my husband built out of scrap wood around here, as the roof. We will still use it as a planter, the soil layer makes great insulation, and the planter is extremely heavy duty. I keep plants in it that I want everyday access to from the kitchen, while I'm cooking, so it's near the house. Big garden is further away.

Is it safe to just let them down in their burrow in the summer, with no rodent/racoon protection? I know rodents usually look for places when it gets colder outside, but would feel better knowing nothing can get down his hole while he's down there.
They are relatively safe when down in their burrows. Coyotes, dogs, and other predators don't stand a chance. Rats are the one thing that might be a problem, yet I have never heard of a rat attack down in a burrow. I think the rats realize the danger they are in on a loose slope with that powerful large animal down there. Sulcatas will squash an animal in a situation like that. The few times I've crawled down sulcata burrows, I made sure the tortoise could NOT follow me down there.

I suppose fire ants could be a problem too, but I have never seen or heard of a case of that either.
 

OliveW

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Branford, FL
They are relatively safe when down in their burrows. Coyotes, dogs, and other predators don't stand a chance. Rats are the one thing that might be a problem, yet I have never heard of a rat attack down in a burrow. I think the rats realize the danger they are in on a loose slope with that powerful large animal down there. Sulcatas will squash an animal in a situation like that. The few times I've crawled down sulcata burrows, I made sure the tortoise could NOT follow me down there.

I suppose fire ants could be a problem too, but I have never seen or heard of a case of that either.

Thanks for easing my mind about that.

I have never seen a rat, in the 16 years we've lived here. Since we have woods, not saying they don't exist, just never seen them. That was my main concern after seeing photos here of torts that have been chewed on.

We have completely eliminated fire ants from all the cleared acres now, one pile at a time, so I don't have that concern any longer, either. I'm sure we'll have to stay on top of that, but we do watch for any new piles in this area of our property.

I'm very curious as to why you crawled down a burrow. Even if my completely replaced knees allowed for such things, it would never be on my bucket list. 😂 Sounds like a Steve Irwin move!
 

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