"Simple" Outdoor Enclosure Conundrum

Talledega

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I am in the midst of preparing to purchase a sulcata hatchling. Originally, I was going to do a 4x2 foot outdoor enclosure with two layers of cinder blocks and a simple hardware cloth top for during the day when he can be outside.

I went to Home Depot to buy everything today and left with nothing because while I was there all I could think about is him digging either out or under the cinder blocks enough to be crushed.

Should I put patio pavers down, surround that with cinder blocks and fill it with tort safe substrate? This is only a temporary enclosure while he is small and not permanently outside but that doesn't mean I won't do it right.

Thank you in advance!
 

Gillian M

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Hello @Talledega and a very warm welcome to the forum. :)

Please read the so-called "Beginners Mistakes" Thread and the care sheets. There's also a section on enclosures, which I'm sure would help you. :D

Look forward to seeing pics of your tort as well as his enclosure, and good luck! :<3:
 

Markw84

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e
I am in the midst of preparing to purchase a sulcata hatchling. Originally, I was going to do a 4x2 foot outdoor enclosure with two layers of cinder blocks and a simple hardware cloth top for during the day when he can be outside.

I went to Home Depot to buy everything today and left with nothing because while I was there all I could think about is him digging either out or under the cinder blocks enough to be crushed.

Should I put patio pavers down, surround that with cinder blocks and fill it with tort safe substrate? This is only a temporary enclosure while he is small and not permanently outside but that doesn't mean I won't do it right.

Thank you in advance!
That is exactly how I do my outdoor time sulcata enclosure for hatchlings. I just go one block high as I can move it around and reconfigure as needed for more room, or for better grazing as needed. Never have a problem with them digging under as I pick them up every day to bring them back inside, and can see where they may be resting along the side and can see if they are starting a depression. A small sulcata would not dig a hole big enough to move a cinder block as the blocks are 16" long. I do ensure the blocks are sitting on the ground with no gaps. If the block sits flush, you will have no problems for hatchlings and yearlings.

As a note - I do not keep new hatchlings outside more than perhaps 2 hours at a time. They do much better in enclosed chamber inside. I see you are in OK, so it is more humid where you are, but they do always seem to do better inside. Once they reach about 5" I will start leaving them out all day while it's warm enough. Once they reach 8" - usually the second year, I leave them outside full time in and enclosure with a heated night box.
 

Talledega

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That is exactly how I do my outdoor time sulcata enclosure for hatchlings. I just go one block high as I can move it around and reconfigure as needed for more room, or for better grazing as needed. Never have a problem with them digging under as I pick them up every day to bring them back inside, and can see where they may be resting along the side and can see if they are starting a depression. A small sulcata would not dig a hole big enough to move a cinder block as the blocks are 16" long. I do ensure the blocks are sitting on the ground with no gaps. If the block sits flush, you will have no problems for hatchlings and yearlings.

As a note - I do not keep new hatchlings outside more than perhaps 2 hours at a time. They do much better in enclosed chamber inside. I see you are in OK, so it is more humid where you are, but they do always seem to do better inside. Once they reach about 5" I will start leaving them out all day while it's warm enough. Once they reach 8" - usually the second year, I leave them outside full time in and enclosure with a heated night box.

Oh yes, they will be mainly indoors but I want as much outdoor time as possible as well. My concern wasn't the tort moving the block but more so digging under it, making it unstable and have the potential to crush the baby. If you feel it isn't a concern, I may go ahead and do that anyways, though. I have also been looking at galvanized steel raised garden beds as a simpler (and cheaper) option as well. This outdoor enclosure while by no means replace the closed chamber being worked on for indoor use. I've done a fair amount of research and I want a nice smooth, healthy tort for years to come.

On a side note, @Markw84 do you breed sulcata? I've been looking for a reliable breeder to purchase a hatchling from when I'm done getting set up and these cold snaps start weaning off a little more.
 

wellington

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If your getting a hatchling, it should be housed indoors in a closed chamber for about two years. It can go out for warm weather outdoor time, but a hatchling does better if raised indoors for most of those two years.
 

Tom

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I do what Mark does. I've been raising hatchlings in block enclosures for decades. Were talking about 100s of hatchlings. None has ever dug under a block or caused a collapse. 4x2 is a little small. I'd go 4x8' for a little one and make a 2x4 frame for your hardware cloth. Here are three good ways to do it for a baby:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/cheap-easy-simple-sunning-enclosure.14680/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/simple-sunning-enclosure.104351/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...table-but-safe-outdoor-baby-enclosures.30683/

Having them outside as much as you can is not good for them. An hour or two a day a few days a week is best for them.

Before you buy a baby, read these:
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/hatchling-failure-syndrome.23493/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/how-to-incubate-eggs-and-start-hatchlings.124266/

These will help you understand what to ask any breeder and what to watch out for. Then if you want a baby, I have eggs incubating right now and many more clutches to come this season.
 

Talledega

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He will only be going outside for a couple of hours a day. I apologize if I worded it wrong above but that's what I meant. Like I said, there is a closed chamber being worked on for indoors that he will spend a majority of his time in. As much time as possible meant as much time as possible for a hatchling to be outdoors, not as long as the sun is up. ;)

I appreciate the advice, I'll talk to the hubby and start preparing for a 4x8 then! I'll also shoot you a message, @Tom.
 

Markw84

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On a side note, @Markw84 do you breed sulcata? I've been looking for a reliable breeder to purchase a hatchling from when I'm done getting set up and these cold snaps start weaning off a little more.

I do have babies every year, but none available now. I have downsized my sulcatas quite a bit, and don't do anywhere near as many babies as I used to. Tom is one of the best sources you could ever find.
 
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