The Best Way To Raise Any Temperate Species Of Tortoise

Jeanettics

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Sacramento, CA
DIg a hole with a sloped entrance. Cover the hole with plywood. Put lots of dirt on top of the plywood. Done.

Use caution as this simple design will flood if it rains.
Alright I can do that. Thanks I appreciate it.
I’m in Davis, CA. Rain won’t be an issue 🥲
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Alright I can do that. Thanks I appreciate it.
I’m in Davis, CA. Rain won’t be an issue 🥲
That is what I always say for here too. Lived in this area since 1996. It simply does not rain here at all from about May at the latest until November at the earliest. Frequently it won't rain from February to December. Then, day before yesterday, we had some sort of weird tropical rain storm drop almost an inch of rain in about 15 minutes. That NEVER happens here. We do not get ANY rain in summer, ever. It went from 111 degrees to 76 in the span of 10 minutes. All my tortoises were loving it and spent the rest of the day lounging in puddles.
 

Jeanettics

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Location (City and/or State)
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That is what I always say for here too. Lived in this area since 1996. It simply does not rain here at all from about May at the latest until November at the earliest. Frequently it won't rain from February to December. Then, day before yesterday, we had some sort of weird tropical rain storm drop almost an inch of rain in about 15 minutes. That NEVER happens here. We do not get ANY rain in summer, ever. It went from 111 degrees to 76 in the span of 10 minutes. All my tortoises were loving it and spent the rest of the day lounging in puddles.
Places that are wet are on fire. Places that are dry are flooding. Chaos.
If we happen to get rain here I’ll be outside with my lil boi dancing in it for sure. ☔🌧
 

Lazuli

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Aug 21, 2021
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Durham
Hi all

I'm currently using this awesome thread to help me set up an indoor enclosure for a juvenile Hermann's tortoise. There are a few things I'm still not sure about, so any answers to the following would be much appreciated!

1. It is stated above that closed chambers are best for babies - but are they also ok for adults so long as they are big enough? I'm in the North East of England, so it will be easier for me to keep temperatures and humidity constant in a closed chamber rather than a table!

2. Does allowing 1 hour of sun exposure per 1" of tortoise translate/apply to time with UVB lighting on? It would probably be too cold to have my tortoise outside in the winter here.

3. How much ventilation is needed for enough air without letting the heat and humidity out? I'm looking at building a perspex/glass enclosure (unfinished plan below) with the lights/heaters at the apex 50cm above shell height. The sloping roof panels will open and can be propped open up to about 45 degrees. But I'm hoping to keep those closed unless it gets too hot.
a. Would a louvre vent like the one pictured be enough?
b. If so, would it be better to mount them high or low on the solid back wall?

4. Are ramps always bad? I have a wooden castle similar to the one pictured, but with an enclosed top. If I made the ramp into a tunnel would it be ok to use while the tortoise is small so long as the bottom of the ramp isn't under the heat sources?

Thank you for any help and sorry if these questions are stupid!
Lazuli enclosure.png VivVent.png Castle.png
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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Hi all

I'm currently using this awesome thread to help me set up an indoor enclosure for a juvenile Hermann's tortoise. There are a few things I'm still not sure about, so any answers to the following would be much appreciated!

1. It is stated above that closed chambers are best for babies - but are they also ok for adults so long as they are big enough? I'm in the North East of England, so it will be easier for me to keep temperatures and humidity constant in a closed chamber rather than a table!

2. Does allowing 1 hour of sun exposure per 1" of tortoise translate/apply to time with UVB lighting on? It would probably be too cold to have my tortoise outside in the winter here.

3. How much ventilation is needed for enough air without letting the heat and humidity out? I'm looking at building a perspex/glass enclosure (unfinished plan below) with the lights/heaters at the apex 50cm above shell height. The sloping roof panels will open and can be propped open up to about 45 degrees. But I'm hoping to keep those closed unless it gets too hot.
a. Would a louvre vent like the one pictured be enough?
b. If so, would it be better to mount them high or low on the solid back wall?

4. Are ramps always bad? I have a wooden castle similar to the one pictured, but with an enclosed top. If I made the ramp into a tunnel would it be ok to use while the tortoise is small so long as the bottom of the ramp isn't under the heat sources?

Thank you for any help and sorry if these questions are stupid!
Lazuli View attachment 350588 View attachment 350589 View attachment 350590
These are great questions!
1. Closed chambers are great for any species and any age, and make it very easy and efficient to maintain the correct environmental parameters instead of fighting physics.
2. No. Its not one hour of exposure to sun. Its one hour of outside time with access to sunshine per inch of tortoise. This is because too much outside time isn't good for babies. It has little to do with UV or sun exposure. Indoors, with a good HO type UV tube (I prefer Arcadia 12% HO tubes) they only need a few hours mid day, and this simulates the mod day UV spike that happens outside too.
3. Not much, but this varies by enclosure and with several variables. Only your hygrometer can answer this question. Best to have adjustable vents, and then you can open or close them as needed to get the humidity and heat levels you desire.
3a. See above.
3b. On either side would be good for cross ventilation. On the back works too. You can put vent in both places, and close them if its too much.
4. No. Ramps are not always bad.
 

Lazuli

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Durham
Thank you so much Tom! I've already bought the 12% bulb based on this sheet, and have tracked down some incandescent bulbs, although they are becoming very hard to get in the UK as they are outlawed for home use. I know you say not to use reptile specialist bulbs for basking - but I may have to in the future, and these look very much like ordinary bulbs to me...if a bit more expensive. They do all say that they emit UVA light though - is that bad? https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/swell-basking-heat-lamps-screw-fitting

Is there anything else that I should be aware of with ramps, other than not having them under basking lights or near water?

Thank you again for your help!
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
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Messages
58,609
Location (City and/or State)
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Thank you so much Tom! I've already bought the 12% bulb based on this sheet, and have tracked down some incandescent bulbs, although they are becoming very hard to get in the UK as they are outlawed for home use. I know you say not to use reptile specialist bulbs for basking - but I may have to in the future, and these look very much like ordinary bulbs to me...if a bit more expensive. They do all say that they emit UVA light though - is that bad? https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/swell-basking-heat-lamps-screw-fitting

Is there anything else that I should be aware of with ramps, other than not having them under basking lights or near water?

Thank you again for your help!
That bulbs looks fine. Arcadia makes them now too.

I'm no ramp expert. Make sure the sides are tall enough...
 

Mrs.Jennifer

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Thank you so much Tom! I've already bought the 12% bulb based on this sheet, and have tracked down some incandescent bulbs, although they are becoming very hard to get in the UK as they are outlawed for home use. I know you say not to use reptile specialist bulbs for basking - but I may have to in the future, and these look very much like ordinary bulbs to me...if a bit more expensive. They do all say that they emit UVA light though - is that bad? https://www.reptiles.swelluk.com/swell-basking-heat-lamps-screw-fitting

Is there anything else that I should be aware of with ramps, other than not having them under basking lights or near water?

Thank you again for your help!
Hello!

I have an 18 year old Russian who lives in a PVC enclosure that my father and husband built for him. It also includes a feeding platform with an attached ramp. The sides of platform and ramp are plexiglass. The most important thing to remember while designing elements with a ramp is the angle of the ramp. The “rule of thumb” is a 1:2 ratio—for every inch in height, you need at least two inches in length. So since my feeding platform is 11 inches high, the ramp measures 22 inches in length. This keeps it from being too steep.

Of course Tom is right about the sides…

Good luck with your build!
 

Lazuli

New Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2021
Messages
3
Location (City and/or State)
Durham
Hello!

I have an 18 year old Russian who lives in a PVC enclosure that my father and husband built for him. It also includes a feeding platform with an attached ramp. The sides of platform and ramp are plexiglass. The most important thing to remember while designing elements with a ramp is the angle of the ramp. The “rule of thumb” is a 1:2 ratio—for every inch in height, you need at least two inches in length. So since my feeding platform is 11 inches high, the ramp measures 22 inches in length. This keeps it from being too steep.

Of course Tom is right about the sides…

Good luck with your build!
Thank you so much, that is really, really helpful!
 

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