So, I had an idea...GOOD or BAD enclosure idea?

ShanDance

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As I was considering how long we have to save up to make the perfect outdoor space for our one and a half year old Sulcata we just rescued, I had a thought...

What about an above ground pool. Now, I have see the posts about the kiddie polls. And that is not what I am talking about. I am thinking of an oval, 14'-18' long,10'-12' wide, designed for family fun, 4 ft high walls....THAT kind of pool. I could fill it 2 feet deep with soil. Put a heated dog house in it. Plant grass, add a tree for shade, include a fountain, rocks, other enrichment, and a soaking spot and put up a roof over half of it.

And then I was thinking of the waterproof sail fabric that could be pulled over during rain so it wouldn't fill with water, or just add drainage.

Has anyone tried this? Am I out of my mind? Our other alternative is to do a total, custom backyard concrete pour and landscaping for our buddy. But this sounded like a good way to have a couple feet of burrowing, barrier walls built in, could plant right in it, covering part of it could be simple. And it prevents having to tear out the entire backyard.

But, I am sure there are things I am not thinking about. So, let me know what you think. Just want to give this buddy the absolute BEST we can.

Thanks everyone!
 

wellington

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Nice thought but a sulcata will mow right thru it. There are pics of them mowing right thru a drywall wall.
Plus that wouldn't be cheap. Now you have to fill it with dirt and you'd have to put holes in the bottom for drainage.
Landscape timbers, cinder blocks about 3 feet high or so would work. Also privacy fencing.
Maybe @Tom can show pics of what his are.
 

ShanDance

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Ok. I have never owned one of the above ground big metal walled pool things. So I really wasn't sure how sturdy they are, thinking they held all those massive gallons of water. Ok. Back to the drawing board, then!
 

ShanDance

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Nice thought but a sulcata will mow right thru it. There are pics of them mowing right thru a drywall wall.
Plus that wouldn't be cheap. Now you have to fill it with dirt and you'd have to put holes in the bottom for drainage.
Landscape timbers, cinder blocks about 3 feet high or so would work. Also privacy fencing.
Maybe @Tom can show pics of what his are.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.
 

Maggie3fan

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I'm no Ton, but I have kept Sulcata in Oregon for 19 years in May...sometimes it looks like this...100_6283.JPG
and at times it's this...100_1515.JPGright now there's 1 Sulcata...most of my pens are made using cinder block...that way if I need I can change them around and make pens bigger or smaller100_0964.JPGthat is my box turtle pond, without any water...and see that bird bath in the back? Mary Knobbins can't stand it upright...she also likes to break out of her enclosure and into the box turtle pond for a swim...100_5048.JPG100_5049.JPGinside that shed is...a sleeping box for a larger tort, it has a pig blanket in the corner...100_0782.JPG
there's a DeLonghi oil filled radiator up high so a big tort can't mess with it. It keeps the shed an ambient temp of 85 all winter...100_6304.JPG
I open the doggie door every morning so she can come and go as she pleases...she was already pyramided when I got her the other half of the shed (it's 12'x20') belongs to any foster in the tort table and the floor is owned by another small tortoise...I have had no foster so I used the tort table for this all winter100_6305.JPG100_6301.JPG
It will be easier for you in the Valley to keep the Sulcata warm at night...but why can't you just gather some cinder block and make a pen that will be easy to make larger? I just used the ground that was the yard and covered the 'lawn' with horse pasture seed and created food and an outside space that gets larger and larger...this also happens every summer...I find if I entertain the big tortoises they are less destructive...I didn't do this...but I had tires off my car that I was going to plant Rose of Sharon for tortoise food100_8285.JPG
and grape leaves are a favorite and healthy for them100_8281.JPG
these are just some examples of how I have kept a giant species...some ideas for you to think over...I moved here to Oregon from Fresno...
 

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Tom

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As I was considering how long we have to save up to make the perfect outdoor space for our one and a half year old Sulcata we just rescued, I had a thought...

What about an above ground pool. Now, I have see the posts about the kiddie polls. And that is not what I am talking about. I am thinking of an oval, 14'-18' long,10'-12' wide, designed for family fun, 4 ft high walls....THAT kind of pool. I could fill it 2 feet deep with soil. Put a heated dog house in it. Plant grass, add a tree for shade, include a fountain, rocks, other enrichment, and a soaking spot and put up a roof over half of it.

And then I was thinking of the waterproof sail fabric that could be pulled over during rain so it wouldn't fill with water, or just add drainage.

Has anyone tried this? Am I out of my mind? Our other alternative is to do a total, custom backyard concrete pour and landscaping for our buddy. But this sounded like a good way to have a couple feet of burrowing, barrier walls built in, could plant right in it, covering part of it could be simple. And it prevents having to tear out the entire backyard.

But, I am sure there are things I am not thinking about. So, let me know what you think. Just want to give this buddy the absolute BEST we can.

Thanks everyone!
I do think the pool idea would work , but why? That is a tremendous amount of labor filling it with 24 inches of dirt. Why not just leave the dirt where it is and make some simple walls out of plywood, landscape timbers, cinder block, or corrugated roofing plastic, etc... The flooding thing would be an issue too. None of mine ever started trying to burrow until they were 16-18 inches at the earliest.

What will not work well is the heated dog house. Dog houses are designed for dogs and they don't work well for tortoise purposes. By the time you modify it enough to work for a tortoise, it is more time, labor and expense than just building one that works from scratch. This wheel has already been invented.
 

ShanDance

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I'm no Ton, but I have kept Sulcata in Oregon for 19 years in May...sometimes it looks like this...View attachment 367313
and at times it's this...View attachment 367314right now there's 1 Sulcata...most of my pens are made using cinder block...that way if I need I can change them around and make pens bigger or smallerView attachment 367315that is my box turtle pond, without any water...and see that bird bath in the back? Mary Knobbins can't stand it upright...she also likes to break out of her enclosure and into the box turtle pond for a swim...View attachment 367316View attachment 367317inside that shed is...a sleeping box for a larger tort, it has a pig blanket in the corner...View attachment 367318
there's a DeLonghi oil filled radiator up high so a big tort can't mess with it. It keeps the shed an ambient temp of 85 all winter...View attachment 367319
I open the doggie door every morning so she can come and go as she pleases...she was already pyramided when I got her the other half of the shed (it's 12'x20') belongs to any foster in the tort table and the floor is owned by another small tortoise...I have had no foster so I used the tort table for this all winterView attachment 367321View attachment 367322
It will be easier for you in the Valley to keep the Sulcata warm at night...but why can't you just gather some cinder block and make a pen that will be easy to make larger? I just used the ground that was the yard and covered the 'lawn' with horse pasture seed and created food and an outside space that gets larger and larger...this also happens every summer...I find if I entertain the big tortoises they are less destructive...I didn't do this...but I had tires off my car that I was going to plant Rose of Sharon for tortoise foodView attachment 367324
and grape leaves are a favorite and healthy for themView attachment 367325
these are just some examples of how I have kept a giant species...some ideas for you to think over...I moved here to Oregon from Fresno...
Thank you for taking such time to share so much info and photos. My only worry about the yard is that we definitely NEED to have pest control along the house line. And I want to be SURE our buddy doesn't get anywhere near those grass areas. So, I kind of want a more permanent wall. But, I suppose I could drop some rebar in for reinforcement and put the cinder blocks on the rebar to keep them from getting bulldozed perhaps.
 

ShanDance

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I do think the pool idea would work , but why? That is a tremendous amount of labor filling it with 24 inches of dirt. Why not just leave the dirt where it is and make some simple walls out of plywood, landscape timbers, cinder block, or corrugated roofing plastic, etc... The flooding thing would be an issue too. None of mine ever started trying to burrow until they were 16-18 inches at the earliest.

What will not work well is the heated dog house. Dog houses are designed for dogs and they don't work well for tortoise purposes. By the time you modify it enough to work for a tortoise, it is more time, labor and expense than just building one that works from scratch. This wheel has already been invented.
Ok. Then I will make the heated hutch a project for my little Monkey and me to work on and skip the pre-heated house. I guess I am just nervous about how everyone says they bulldoze and burrow out of everywhere and wanted to make sure I had something that would hold them in.
 

Yvonne G

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I used to be a turtle and tortoise rescue, and the majority of rescues were Calif. desert tortoises and sulcatas. I only had one sulcata of my own and I had him for about 20 years. So my long term sulcata experience is only from the one male sulcata, about 120lbs when I had to find him a new home due to my old age and body weakness. Dudley was a pretty laid back sulcata. The only time he was destructive was when I took in another sulcata, male or female didn't matter. Then he was a holy terror on the fences. To be clear, Dudley never shared space with the rescues, but he could smell when they were here.

During the time I had him he never dug a burrow. It was my thought that if I provided him with a place to cool down in the heat of summer and a place to be warm in winter he wouldn't dig, and that worked well for about 20 years. He had a giant shrub he spent a lot of time under in summer, and an insulated 12'x12'x8' shed, open for him to use all the time, which was heated in winter.

I used 4x4 redwood posts sunk into the ground with 16' corral boards nailed horizontally and three or four boards high. Dudley was perfectly happy to stay within the confines of his yard (as long as he couldn't smell another tortoise). His space was about 25' x 50'

At this time I'm using my Kindle to write this and it doesn't have pictures in it, but if you search for Dudley's Yard, and Dudley's Rebuild you can see what I'm talking about.
 

ShanDance

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I used to be a turtle and tortoise rescue, and the majority of rescues were Calif. desert tortoises and sulcatas. I only had one sulcata of my own and I had him for about 20 years. So my long term sulcata experience is only from the one male sulcata, about 120lbs when I had to find him a new home due to my old age and body weakness. Dudley was a pretty laid back sulcata. The only time he was destructive was when I took in another sulcata, male or female didn't matter. Then he was a holy terror on the fences. To be clear, Dudley never shared space with the rescues, but he could smell when they were here.

During the time I had him he never dug a burrow. It was my thought that if I provided him with a place to cool down in the heat of summer and a place to be warm in winter he wouldn't dig, and that worked well for about 20 years. He had a giant shrub he spent a lot of time under in summer, and an insulated 12'x12'x8' shed, open for him to use all the time, which was heated in winter.

I used 4x4 redwood posts sunk into the ground with 16' corral boards nailed horizontally and three or four boards high. Dudley was perfectly happy to stay within the confines of his yard (as long as he couldn't smell another tortoise). His space was about 25' x 50'

At this time I'm using my Kindle to write this and it doesn't have pictures in it, but if you search for Dudley's Yard, and Dudley's Rebuild you can see what I'm talking about.
Thank you so much! We appreciate your sharing your experience and advice.
 

wellington

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I do think the pool idea would work , but why? That is a tremendous amount of labor filling it with 24 inches of dirt. Why not just leave the dirt where it is and make some simple walls out of plywood, landscape timbers, cinder block, or corrugated roofing plastic, etc... The flooding thing would be an issue too. None of mine ever started trying to burrow until they were 16-18 inches at the earliest.

What will not work well is the heated dog house. Dog houses are designed for dogs and they don't work well for tortoise purposes. By the time you modify it enough to work for a tortoise, it is more time, labor and expense than just building one that works from scratch. This wheel has already been invented.
You don't think a sulcata, who can bust through a drywall and studed wall won't bust out of a pool? Of like Maggie's who plows thru cinder block? Boy, I'll take a bet on that one and I don't even own one but is the reason I don't own one, that and the burrowing.
 

Yvonne G

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You don't think a sulcata, who can bust through a drywall and studed wall won't bust out of a pool? Of like Maggie's who plows thru cinder block? Boy, I'll take a bet on that one and I don't even own one but is the reason I don't own one, that and the burrowing.
Those above the ground pools have supporting metal sides.
 

vladimir

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Vladimir put a dent in the aluminum siding of our house, I have no doubt he would destroy an above ground pool
 

Tom

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You don't think a sulcata, who can bust through a drywall and studed wall won't bust out of a pool? Of like Maggie's who plows thru cinder block? Boy, I'll take a bet on that one and I don't even own one but is the reason I don't own one, that and the burrowing.
Not a chance and they wouldn't try because its a visual barrier. Drywall crumbles and tears easily. The tortoise in that picture was likely living in the room on the other side of that wall and eventually wore through the wall. That was a large sulcata, and if the room on the other side was normal size, it would have only been around 10x10 feet, which is MUCH too small to house a large sulcata like that one over an entire winter.

This above ground pool will only be hold a small one and an 18-12 foot oval would be plenty of room. Plus the walls of these above ground pools are made to hold in thousands of pounds of water under immense pressure.

So how much would you like to bet?
 

SinLA

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Not a chance and they wouldn't try because its a visual barrier. Drywall crumbles and tears easily. The tortoise in that picture was likely living in the room on the other side of that wall and eventually wore through the wall. That was a large sulcata, and if the room on the other side was normal size, it would have only been around 10x10 feet, which is MUCH too small to house a large sulcata like that one over an entire winter.

This above ground pool will only be hold a small one and an 18-12 foot oval would be plenty of room. Plus the walls of these above ground pools are made to hold in thousands of pounds of water under immense pressure.

So how much would you like to bet?

I have no skin in this game, but wouldn't the shell likely tear the surface, especially after repeated walk-bys?
 

wellington

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Not a chance and they wouldn't try because its a visual barrier. Drywall crumbles and tears easily. The tortoise in that picture was likely living in the room on the other side of that wall and eventually wore through the wall. That was a large sulcata, and if the room on the other side was normal size, it would have only been around 10x10 feet, which is MUCH too small to house a large sulcata like that one over an entire winter.

This above ground pool will only be hold a small one and an 18-12 foot oval would be plenty of room. Plus the walls of these above ground pools are made to hold in thousands of pounds of water under immense pressure.

So how much would you like to bet?
I think this pool is intended for the tortoise when it's an adult too?
Unless they have made them better, the one I had back in the day and a few others that I know had them, they aren't as sturdy as you might think. Even less sturdy when empty.
Agree with the expense of filling it with substrate when there is easier and likely less expensive ways.
 
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Tom

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I have no skin in this game, but wouldn't the shell likely tear the surface, especially after repeated walk-bys?
Not the types that I have seen. The inner surfaces on the ones I have seen were smooth hard plastic and pretty durable. They would certainly eventually tear through the inflatable types. A large sulcata, say over 50 pounds, might be able to fold down the wall of a flimsy one if it were to challenge the wall and try to climb it, but I don't see a small one being able to damage the wall of a 4 foot deep 12x18 foot pool.
 

wellington

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As I was considering how long we have to save up to make the perfect outdoor space for our one and a half year old Sulcata we just rescued, I had a thought...

What about an above ground pool. Now, I have see the posts about the kiddie polls. And that is not what I am talking about. I am thinking of an oval, 14'-18' long,10'-12' wide, designed for family fun, 4 ft high walls....THAT kind of pool. I could fill it 2 feet deep with soil. Put a heated dog house in it. Plant grass, add a tree for shade, include a fountain, rocks, other enrichment, and a soaking spot and put up a roof over half of it.

And then I was thinking of the waterproof sail fabric that could be pulled over during rain so it wouldn't fill with water, or just add drainage.

Has anyone tried this? Am I out of my mind? Our other alternative is to do a total, custom backyard concrete pour and landscaping for our buddy. But this sounded like a good way to have a couple feet of burrowing, barrier walls built in, could plant right in it, covering part of it could be simple. And it prevents having to tear out the entire backyard.

But, I am sure there are things I am not thinking about. So, let me know what you think. Just want to give this buddy the absolute BEST we can.

Thanks everyone!
Is this pool meant for only while your tortoise is small or meant to be his full time enclosure even at adult size?
 

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