Outside Time?

oatmeal

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Edmonton, AB
I live in Edmonton and after a long time of cold weather, it's finally heating up to around 25ºc (77ºf).
I have always taken my tort outside in my yard on hotter days like this, but now I'm wondering if it's the right thing to do.

I'm pretty sure he loves it - he trucks around a ton, eats some food I bring out for him, and sometimes has soaks outside. He doesn't seem stressed outside at all and I never take my (paranoid) eyes off him for a second. The yard is never sprayed with any chemicals, and is mostly just grass.
However, when I take him back inside to his enclosure, he paces around for ten minutes before returning to his usual activities. I think that may be stressing him out. I feel like he enjoys roaming around outside, though, and if that's the case, I don't want to take this away from him.

Is it transporting from inside to outside, being outside, or returning to his enclosure that is causing the stress?
Is it generally a good or bad idea to take him for these outings?
What are potential dangers/risks of this?

Thank you :)
 

oatmeal

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Edmonton, AB
Also wondering how people here carry their tortoises around without making them too uncomfortable?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,039
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
I live in Edmonton and after a long time of cold weather, it's finally heating up to around 25ºc (77ºf).
I have always taken my tort outside in my yard on hotter days like this, but now I'm wondering if it's the right thing to do.

I'm pretty sure he loves it - he trucks around a ton, eats some food I bring out for him, and sometimes has soaks outside. He doesn't seem stressed outside at all and I never take my (paranoid) eyes off him for a second. The yard is never sprayed with any chemicals, and is mostly just grass.
However, when I take him back inside to his enclosure, he paces around for ten minutes before returning to his usual activities. I think that may be stressing him out. I feel like he enjoys roaming around outside, though, and if that's the case, I don't want to take this away from him.

Is it transporting from inside to outside, being outside, or returning to his enclosure that is causing the stress?
Is it generally a good or bad idea to take him for these outings?
What are potential dangers/risks of this?

Thank you :)
What size, age and species? What size is the indoor enclosure?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
63,039
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Also wondering how people here carry their tortoises around without making them too uncomfortable?
I carry them in my hands or in tubs if I have a few to transport.

Allowing the tort to roam loose outside is a mistake that will eventually lose your tortoise. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day... The solution is to make a safe secure outdoor enclosure for your tortoises outdoor time. It would be ideal if your tortoise had an insulated and temperature controlled outdoor night box, and then you could leave him out 24/7 in the warmer months, and extend the outdoor time farther into fall, and get him out a bit earlier in spring. How to do that is explained here:

Outside time is very beneficial for adults, and it is worth the effort to get them out as much as you can. There me be some mild temporary stress when coming back inside to smaller confines, but its worth it, and this won't harm your tortoise at all.
 

oatmeal

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Edmonton, AB
What size, age and species? What size is the indoor enclosure?
He's an 11 year old hermanns. About 16 cm in length. Indoor enclosure is 120x180cm - currently working on building a bigger one:(
 

oatmeal

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Edmonton, AB
I carry them in my hands or in tubs if I have a few to transport.

Allowing the tort to roam loose outside is a mistake that will eventually lose your tortoise. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day... The solution is to make a safe secure outdoor enclosure for your tortoises outdoor time. It would be ideal if your tortoise had an insulated and temperature controlled outdoor night box, and then you could leave him out 24/7 in the warmer months, and extend the outdoor time farther into fall, and get him out a bit earlier in spring. How to do that is explained here:

Outside time is very beneficial for adults, and it is worth the effort to get them out as much as you can. There me be some mild temporary stress when coming back inside to smaller confines, but its worth it, and this won't harm your tortoise at all.
Thanks a ton
I'll read up on making an outdoor enclosure for him. I disregarded that idea in the past because of the weather here, but keeping him there just for the warm months sounds great, thank you for the info
 

wellington

Well-Known Member
Moderator
10 Year Member!
Tortoise Club
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
49,344
Location (City and/or State)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hermanns can take temps down into the 60'sF as long as they can also eventually warm up. My Russian, similar care as a Hermanns stays out all spring and summer and some of fall. If the temps fall below 60 for a night, I bring him in for that night and he goes back out the next day.
The behavior you mentioned when you bring him back in is normal. Get him outside all summer and he will be happier and will only sulk for that 10 minutes a few times a year instead of daily.
 

oatmeal

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
11
Location (City and/or State)
Edmonton, AB
Hermanns can take temps down into the 60'sF as long as they can also eventually warm up. My Russian, similar care as a Hermanns stays out all spring and summer and some of fall. If the temps fall below 60 for a night, I bring him in for that night and he goes back out the next day.
The behavior you mentioned when you bring him back in is normal. Get him outside all summer and he will be happier and will only sulk for that 10 minutes a few times a year instead of daily.
Thanks that's relieving to hear & looking forward to less sulking lol
 

Sarah2020

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
1,544
Location (City and/or State)
London, UK
I am in the UK and have a permanent outside enclosure. I empty it in autumn and then reorganise it in the spring and de spider web it etc.... I made it by digging an oblong pit and lining the edge with oblong building breeze blocks and wire underneath the substrate to prevent digging an escape route and wire lids. My tort goes out most day in summer with his food dish and a fresh water dish it takes me 5 mins to get him transferred and he really likes it. I get the odd challenge when he comes inside in the evening but other times he crashes as he has had fresh air and lots of walking. I know he is safe in there and it is a great extra to have.
 

BernieL

Member
Joined
May 8, 2022
Messages
51
Location (City and/or State)
Indio, California
Our little Russian, Pete, has lived outside in our fenced yard every since he came to us. We've made him several 'burrow' options, where he chooses to sleep, and he roams freely and happily all around. Temperatures here in Coachella Valley have gotten to the 105-110 range now, so he stays more in the shady part of our place. We've made sure all his burrows are heavily shaded, and moistened with cool water 2-3 times a day. We also 'bathe' him with cool tissues as he eats, and he seems to enjoy it.
Re transporting--I've read that they don't like someone picking them up with their hands, because it leaves them without their feet on the ground, so I've created a 'transport': a shallow, open-ended little box. If Pete goes to the far side of our little (1/8 acre) property, where it's warmer, I'll sometimes take the transport and present it to him--putting it on the ground about a foot from where he is, with the opening facing him. He'll pause for a bit, look at me, then at it, then, after an appropriate period of reflection, march over to the transport, and climb in. I then lift it (with him in it) and carry him back to the feeding area. That's also in the shaded area. During this 'transport' trip he'll march to the edge of the shallow box and look over the side as we're walking back, almost like he's looking out the window of an airplane, taking in the scenery and occasionally eyeing me. When we arrive (and 'land') at the feeding area there's always a fresh snack--kale, mushroom, etc.--waiting for him. That's very exciting to Pete. He'll march quickly (I'd say sprints, but...you know) out of the transport and over to his snack, and eat while my wife 'bathes' his back. Once that's done he goes over to the even shadier, moist area of soft dirt, burrows a little, and goes to sleep.

You might try the transport-type system we use instead of picking yours up with your hand. Your tort may like it.

Good luck
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,002
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Our little Russian, Pete, has lived outside in our fenced yard every since he came to us. We've made him several 'burrow' options, where he chooses to sleep, and he roams freely and happily all around. Temperatures here in Coachella Valley have gotten to the 105-110 range now, so he stays more in the shady part of our place. We've made sure all his burrows are heavily shaded, and moistened with cool water 2-3 times a day. We also 'bathe' him with cool tissues as he eats, and he seems to enjoy it.
Re transporting--I've read that they don't like someone picking them up with their hands, because it leaves them without their feet on the ground, so I've created a 'transport': a shallow, open-ended little box. If Pete goes to the far side of our little (1/8 acre) property, where it's warmer, I'll sometimes take the transport and present it to him--putting it on the ground about a foot from where he is, with the opening facing him. He'll pause for a bit, look at me, then at it, then, after an appropriate period of reflection, march over to the transport, and climb in. I then lift it (with him in it) and carry him back to the feeding area. That's also in the shaded area. During this 'transport' trip he'll march to the edge of the shallow box and look over the side as we're walking back, almost like he's looking out the window of an airplane, taking in the scenery and occasionally eyeing me. When we arrive (and 'land') at the feeding area there's always a fresh snack--kale, mushroom, etc.--waiting for him. That's very exciting to Pete. He'll march quickly (I'd say sprints, but...you know) out of the transport and over to his snack, and eat while my wife 'bathes' his back. Once that's done he goes over to the even shadier, moist area of soft dirt, burrows a little, and goes to sleep.

You might try the transport-type system we use instead of picking yours up with your hand. Your tort may like it.

Good luck
Wow. His very own private plane and pilot.
 

TammyJ

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
7,002
Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
I hold them with both hands and lots of care and respect.
 

New Posts

Top