Outdoor Russian Enclosure with LOTS of Predators

Ruszian Tortoise

Active Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
118
Location (City and/or State)
TX
So I am giving away my tortoise to a very enthusiastic 12 year old and his family. They want to build an outside enclosure, but don’t want to spend much/if any on it. They also have rodents, hawks, cats, occasionally coyotes, and maybe also occasional wolves all come through their yard. I suggested chicken wire, but they said that if a rodent could get his head in the wire he would be able to fit through. Is chicken wire small enough? Also, they get their area sprayed for mosquitos occasionally. Can an outdoor enclosure be built above ground? What should we put to keep the substrate off the ground? And can weeds be eaten from their yard?

Many thanks.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
814
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
Whether or not the outdoor enclosure is possible depends on these two questions: What do they use to spray for mosquitoes? Are there any other chemicals used?

Outdoor enclosure can be built above ground. For the roof and bottom you should use heavy duty deer netting with smaller holes than chicken wire. 1/4" is usually recommended to keep rodents away

Between the bottom net and the substrate you can use heavy duty landscaping fabric.

Also, is important that a sturdy night shelter is build and the tortoise is locked there overnight.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
So I am giving away my tortoise to a very enthusiastic 12 year old and his family. They want to build an outside enclosure, but don’t want to spend much/if any on it. They also have rodents, hawks, cats, occasionally coyotes, and maybe also occasional wolves all come through their yard. I suggested chicken wire, but they said that if a rodent could get his head in the wire he would be able to fit through. Is chicken wire small enough? Also, they get their area sprayed for mosquitos occasionally. Can an outdoor enclosure be built above ground? What should we put to keep the substrate off the ground? And can weeds be eaten from their yard?

Many thanks.
Are they also in TX?

Chicken wire is weak. It will keep chickens in, but it won't keep predators out. Use welded wire instead.

Unfortunately, they are going to have to spends lots of money, time and effort to house the tortoise correctly. Sounds like you should find a better place for it. It will need an insulated shelter with temperature controls and a suitable cage. Russians are the number one tortoise escape artists, so their housing needs to be taken seriously. Unless they already have all the needed supplies laying around, they are going to need to buy the things they need and then build it all.
 

EppsDynasty

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Oct 4, 2022
Messages
1,034
Location (City and/or State)
Canebrake Ca
I'm with Tom, sounds like this pet is a little more than they can handle. Or at least more than they can afford. I would have a very "Honest" talk with them and make sure they understand it's going to be a good chunk of money to house any tort correctly. I'm getting the feeling of a new member in about a month or so asking "I think somethings wrong with my Tortoise."
 

Anastasia 22

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2024
Messages
97
Location (City and/or State)
Texas
I'd also worry about fire ants depending on where they are
Agree! In my situation it's not possible to get rid of fire ants completely. So, I always watch my tortoises when they walk outside.....
 

S2G

Active Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
138
Location (City and/or State)
AL
Pesticides is going to ruin the whole deal honestly. Chemicals & outdoor keeping dont mix. What they need to worry about most is raccoons. To truly keep them outside especially away from the house you will need an electric fence & a monitoring system. Also russians dig so deep its unreal. Theyll need to dig down atleast 1ft or more to put a perimeter down to keep them in. Honestly that may not be enough.

What i do is put their pin close to the house & lock them up for the night. I use a robust cold frame house system as their shelter. Once he/she retreats to that I'll lock them up for the night. I had a chicken wire top on my slider bin & raccoons busted it up eating 2 juvi sliders i had in there.

If it falls through & youre ever close to AL id be happy to give it a forever home for you. I have some acreage & just started setting up a few more tortoise pins. Ive been trying to adopt a few in need around me.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
To truly keep them outside especially away from the house you will need an electric fence & a monitoring system.
... or put them in a large cage of some sort. I live out in the country with the same full range of predators including raccoons, coyotes, and all the rest, and I've never used an electric fence or monitoring system. Small chelonians are kept caged and all tortoises of all sizes and species are locked in temperature controlled night boxes every night. For example, my stars live in a 28 x32 foot cage made of pressure treated lumber and welded wire.
 

S2G

Active Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
138
Location (City and/or State)
AL
... or put them in a large cage of some sort. I live out in the country with the same full range of predators including raccoons, coyotes, and all the rest, and I've never used an electric fence or monitoring system. Small chelonians are kept caged and all tortoises of all sizes and species are locked in temperature controlled night boxes every night. For example, my stars live in a 28 x32 foot cage made of pressure treated lumber and welded wire.

Well true. I had 2 legged animal problems also at my last house. Do you mind posting your cage setup or pointing me to a thread if you dont mind? I lock mine up at night the same way.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
64,102
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Well true. I had 2 legged animal problems also at my last house. Do you mind posting your cage setup or pointing me to a thread if you dont mind? I lock mine up at night the same way.
I HATE those pesky two legged predators!

Here are the night boxes:

Here is a small cage for a single juvenile male Burmese star. The is actually a chicken coop from Tractor Supply with a heated night box attached:
IMG_1051.jpg

Here is my giant cage for my stars. There are four "strips" that are about 8 x 32 feet each:
IMG_5604.JPG
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
814
Location (City and/or State)
Finland
A properly sized dog kennel would probably be the most secure option. At least here in Finland, wolf and bear proof outdoor kennels are sold, if you want to go with a ready made option.
 

Sarah2020

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
1,676
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
I think you find an alternative home for your shelled warrior. Tortoise need care, time, investment and the correct setup.
 
Top