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Outdoor enclosure ideas for a Russian

Discussion in 'Tortoise Enclosures' started by CathyNed, May 16, 2016.

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  1. CathyNed

    CathyNed Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all. My russian tort Ned has spent the last week at the vet but is "fingers crossed" coming home Wednesday. I know he will need to be kept warm after antibiotics so he will be in his indoor enclosure but as the weather is good here and hopefully will stay that way i am going to take advantage of it and build him a proper outdoor enclosure for when he has recooperated.

    Im looking at a 6x6 enclosure , two foot deep like a raised bed with a grill on top that can be raised or lowered to keep him safe from preditors. We dont have a dog but we do have a few stray cats haging about and plenty of birds. He will have to stay/sleep indoors but i would like to have somewhere he can explore safely when we do get days of sunshine. I also intend to make a tarp to cover the enclosure when its wet out.

    Basically I am looking for ideas of what i should have in there. Obviously a hide or two and water dish but what else?
    Should i use peat moss or topsoil as substrate. I know i will have to look out for additives to either but which would be best? Or should i use woodchip like people use in their borders for gardens. If i use peat or topsoil can i plant lots of edibles in there.

    Also i know i need larger plants in there to provide shade and i think i read somewhere that spider plants are ok? Any suggestions for other good shade plants that are not harmful. What about heather?

    I also know i need to cap the corners to prevent escape.

    Any other ideas.
    I like the look of this....any ideas? c23a097919e00aafbee9eb02c0955e05.jpg
    Rue likes this.
  2. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    I think if you're going to go to the trouble to build an outdoor enclosure...try and build it larger than the minimum indoor size recommendation - or even bigger. If you need to have it smaller for a short while for some reason, you can always block off a smaller area.

    It all takes time (and money). Even the lid we're making for our baby's 'playpen' is a bigger project than I thought it was going to be (and it's not hard, just requiring more effort than anticipated). So may as well go bigger for a tortoise right off the bat.

    But I like the look of that example! Cute! :)
  3. CathyNed

    CathyNed Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Also does anyone know how long garden centre plants need to be repotted in topsoil before being toxin free?
  4. Rue

    Rue Well-Known Member

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    Funny you should ask that...I've been trying to get a 'scientific' answer and it hasn't materialized yet. Many of the responses that you do get are biased by the 'fear' that every chemical used lasts forever and they will all kill you.

    In short...it depends on the product being used and how fast that product is metabolized by the plant and/or broken down in the environment. Products used on food crops have a pre-harvest interval which tells you how long the product is effective before it breaks down. Can be anywhere from 3 days to 90 days. Products used on horticultural crops (since they're not being eaten) may last longer...and the longest reasonable wait time I've found is 1 year, but I imagine it's actually considerable shorter than that.

    If I find out more (I'm checking into non-food hort crops), I'll let you know.
    jaizei and Sara G. like this.
  5. TortoiseWarrior

    TortoiseWarrior Active Member

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    I'm learning something here.
  6. Sara G.

    Sara G. Active Member

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    Spider plants are excellent for sure.
    Hostas are good.
    Hibiscus bushes are also good.
    And all are safe for Ned to munch on if he should feel so inclined.

    I think if the plants are bought from like Home Depot or something usually the wait time is 6months to a year before letting the tort much on them.
    You can also try to find a nursery that is pesticide/chemical free!

    I think mulch, non dyed of course, is a popular choice for outdoor enclosures.
    Morgan6600 likes this.
  7. CathyNed

    CathyNed Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I found a neaeby nurser today that have some perfect plants. I emailed them about fertilisers in compost and pesticide sprays and they said that their homegrown plants have neither. The only ones that do are ones they buy in due to demand. They said if i send on a list of what im after they will let me know for sure which have no chemicals.
    Sara G. likes this.
  8. Milinda

    Milinda Member

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    Could someone recommend how deep down to go where the fence is? I fenced off a part of my garden, but I am not sure how deep down to go so the tortoise doesn't dig out. Thank you!
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