Summer is coming

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EchoTheLeoTort

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Okay forum members, Echo is my first tortoise, and he is a hatchling babcocki leopard tortoise. He is about 2.25-2.50 inches, the first question I would like to ask is simply - is it too early to get him outside this summer in a 4x4 enclosure? I live in the midwest and I only have about from end of may-august to give him time outside, and I want to make sure he gets some good old sunshine. If he can be outside at his small size I will include a picture of my design idea (sorry for the horrid drawing) but the basic is that I have ordered him a garden bed, 4 ft by 4 ft, I already made a post and its confirmed that the wood is safe and good for him. I plan on putting a log hide in his enclosure, as well as a tipped over pot, that he can climb into when he needs shade. I am also thinking of adding a piece of wood over one side of the enclosure to provide more shade, as it might actually be hotter in the pot or in the log. I plan on planting 2 spider plants to give shade and something to hide under, as well as grow some lettuce (or at least try) And plant some poppys and pansys as these are all safe for torts in case he wants to nibble. I also have an abandoned house accross the street and the lady does not treat her lawn or anything, and last summer she was dandelion infested, sucks for her yard but good for me so I can sneak over and grab a couple and try and plant them in the enclosure. Also i bought some grass seed to plant in part of the enclosure, I know leo's don't graze much as babies but figured i'd try. (However I do plan on feeding him foods he likes on a normal basis just in case, I have the pickiest eater). I plan on getting a paint pan to use as a water dish so it creates a ramp and is easy to get into, although I probably won't be filling it all the way because of his small size and the possibility of him drowning. In my state there aren't really predators however we have some cats in the neighborhood and i've seen dead raccoons on the road which tells me they are here as well. I've purchased a sort of chicken wire that has small enough spaces to lay over the top where nothing could get in but the suns rays will still pass through. As a precaution I am going to bring him inside during the night so I don't see predators as a big threat. Please let me know if this seems an okay set up, and if there is anything to add/take out. Thanks in advance! Also if I could throw in a side question? I'm not quite sure how old Echo is, but it appears that he still has his egg tooth? Judging that he is 2.25 inches should that be gone by now? I got him March 27th I believe, so I've had him over a month now, which makes him at least 4 weeks, And when he arrived, his scar from the egg sac was completely healed if that gives any indication of how old he was when he came. Thanks again!
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wellington

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Yes you can get him outside at his age. Do not let him stay out at night, like you said, bring him in. When mine was that young I made sure ground temps were 75 or above in the sun. Get a temp gun, about 25 bucks at Home Depot, shoot the ground in his enclosure, and go by those temps. Sounds like you got it right.
 

Team Gomberg

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I think the tort will like it better if you sew the seeds all over instead of growing them in clusters. This is strictly my opinion.

Having it heavily planted gives more covering as they wander about their enclosure. If you only have plants here and there with lots of empty space in between the baby will spend more time hiding than foraging around.

I would suggest you put in the water dish and hides. Then sew the seeds mixed up all over the rest of the space. Maybe put in your potted spider plants before but if its heavily planted it will have many benefits to your baby :)

Happy building :)
 

stinax182

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I've tried using the paint roller pans and they don't work because of the slippery surface. better off using good old terra cotta dishes, probably 7$ for a good sized one, your tort isn't very big :p and i agree with sewing the seeds throughout the enclosure, the more green, the better. what i do for hides outside is dig a hole, make 3 brick walls, put a big flat rock or pavement brick on top, then bury. the open side will be like a tunnel and it's always much cooler underground. plus, after you bury it, you still have the space on top :) i put leaves or moss in the hole and it's the best source of shade.

Sent from my MB886 using TortForum mobile app
 

EchoTheLeoTort

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ok thank you i will try sewing them instead. We have had crap weather where it gets to 70 degrees then it snows the next day so when the weather decides to play along I will put together the garden bed and get to work!
 

rideburton87

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I've heard chicken wire isnt very good at keeping predators out and that hardware cloth is the way to go. I just got done building my outdoor pen and used the hardware cloth for the top and I do like it a lot. I made it in 2 foot sections and it definitely seems strong enough for me to stand on so I'm sure its plenty strong to keep any predators out. Plus when they are that young predators can including almost anything even squirrels.. The hardware cloth I used has like 1/2'' square holes, kinda small but the pen still gets pretty lit up. I would post you up a pic but I dont have any yet nor do I know how to post pics lol
 

EchoTheLeoTort

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rideburton87 said:
I've heard chicken wire isnt very good at keeping predators out and that hardware cloth is the way to go. I just got done building my outdoor pen and used the hardware cloth for the top and I do like it a lot. I made it in 2 foot sections and it definitely seems strong enough for me to stand on so I'm sure its plenty strong to keep any predators out. Plus when they are that young predators can including almost anything even squirrels.. The hardware cloth I used has like 1/2'' square holes, kinda small but the pen still gets pretty lit up. I would post you up a pic but I dont have any yet nor do I know how to post pics lol

Actually this is what I bought! I called it chicken wire cause I wasn't sure what it was called. But i looked up hardware cloth and its exactly what I purchased. So no worries :D
 

Tom

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I think most of my points were hit above, but I like to put it in my own words.

1. This does not need to be all or nothing. Have both enclosures and use the outdoor one in fair weather. Do bring him in at night. Personally, I don't like to leave hatchlings out all day, regardless of the weather. For me, they grow much smoother, healthier and faster, if I keep them indoors most of the time. I put my tiny babies, like this one out in their sunning pens for only an hour or two each day. As they gain size and age, I leave them out longer and longer, but those first few months are pretty critical. Once they get to be about 6" they stay outside all day every day, weather permitting. I would limit outside time until he hits at least 100 grams.
2. No paint trays. Use a small terra cotta saucer for a tiny baby like this. Or if he's only outside for a couple hours, then soak him on the way in and skip and outdoor water bowl entirely. The small bowls needed for tiny babies like this heat up really fast in the sun anyway.
3. I actually prefer to plant in clumps or rows. (No offense Heather) Just my preference. I've tried both ways and I like them to have open areas to walk. I don't want to throw her under the bus, but I believe Yvonne has also suggested this me. She is/was right. It will still work the other way, I just like it better this way.
4. Shade. Your plan ain't gonna work. They need heavy over head shade. Anything in or on top of the enclosure will heat up like the inside of an oven. You need something like an umbrella or a tree high above to give good shade. If its sunny and much above 80 degrees, this becomes critical. This is a top killer of tiny babies. Please BE CAREFUL. You can put the enclosure part way under a large bush, or tree, but watch the sun/shade ratio very closely at all times. Use a temp gun to learn what works and what doesn't work in YOUR enclosure. Wood might work, but you will need to build it up on legs to raise it at least a couple of feet ABOVE the top of the enclosure.

Please come back with lots more questions and discussion. You can't learn too much, and learning not enough could be disastrous. Good luck and have fun! :)
 
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