wellington

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I don't see my tortoises drink every day, I don't watch them 24/7 either. But if they need a drink, they should be able to get too water they feel safe getting to. Large clay saucers are best. You need the low sides. Tortoise don't really go up and over and then down to the water with their heads like dogs. As they get bigger the sides can be higher.
 

Markw84

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Wow! Your tortoises and custom ponds look AMAZING. And everything you said makes a LOT of sense.

Would you mind telling me a bit about your your process for building a concrete pond? If you made a post about it I'd really love to read it. I have zero experience with building ponds, but I'm always willing to learn and have a few friends that could help me out. I did look online but all I find is instructions for making deep garden ponds using those pre-formed plastic molds.

The "pond" I put together shows my inexperience in many ways.:
  • It's essentially an iron bowl sunk into some rocks with concrete poured over the edges to hold it in place( probably horrible for temps).
  • Not leveled with the grass like yours, which is probably less inviting for my young torts.
  • I was limited by the bowl diameter/depth vs something custom like your pond which just seems SOOO PERFECT.

PLEASE PLEASE teach me your ways! Same with the mud pond. I initially tried to cover the entire thing in coconut coir (see below) but the coir would quickly wick all the water out of the pond. it was impossible to keep it filled.

PS: the following pictures were staged too 😅

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I did do a post on exactly how I constructed that pool with DIY instructions:

Also, in response to the water getting hot... I have found with evaporate cooling, the pond does stay quite a bit cooler than the ambient temperature outdoors. On a 105° day, the water temp never goes above 91° Right now, it is 96° and I shot the pool at 88°. Also a "more humid" day for us at 38% instead of the normal 15% this time of year. So with your greater humidity you might not get as much evaporate cooling as I see here - so do check it our for yourself in your situation.
 

SanctuaryHills

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I did do a post on exactly how I constructed that pool with DIY instructions:

Also, in response to the water getting hot... I have found with evaporate cooling, the pond does stay quite a bit cooler than the ambient temperature outdoors. On a 105° day, the water temp never goes above 91° Right now, it is 96° and I shot the pool at 88°. Also a "more humid" day for us at 38% instead of the normal 15% this time of year. So with your greater humidity you might not get as much evaporate cooling as I see here - so do check it our for yourself in your situation.
Yup I'm going to be checking the temps tomorrow. We have a hot day in the forecast. Depending on the data I gather I'll make any necessary adjustments to the pond and go from there.

In the meantime I put up a few water dishes throughout the enclosure. One in the shade, one right next to the spot where I usually feed them and another one in a corner where I've seen them congregating sometimes.

Now off to read your post about building a pond! Thanks a million.
 

Sarah2020

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Just to say what a lovely post the first pics with containers in a row at soak time are adorable. I think you have lots of ideas and just hope it works out. They have a nice home and a caring owner. Keep us posted.
 

SanctuaryHills

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Ok so I built up a bigger pond for the tortoises in a spot with more shade. I don't expect that they'll use it on their own anytime soon so I've been manually placing them on the shallow part myself to help them get acquainted with it. A couple of the tortoises will actually chill right where I put them for a few, while the others just swim across and high tail as fast as they can out of there. But that's a story for another post.

I followed the advise from you guys (cough* @wellington and placed a few water filled clay saucers around the enclosure and according to my spying it's been great success. They love it! Not only to drink from but to lay on it as well. I'm actually going to go to Lowes today and get a couple of bigger ones.

But most important of all, I now feel very relieved knowing that my tortoises are seeking out water regardless of their weekly soaks. It's one of those things that even if you suspect they were doing it, it's another thing to actually see it.

Anyway enjoy the pics:
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Bonus pic:
Seems I have a new visitor. A bit scared he might harrass the torts, but might also help me out with all the mice prowling around. Should I be worried?

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wellington

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Ok so I built up a bigger pond for the tortoises in a spot with more shade. I don't expect that they'll use it on their own anytime soon so I've been manually placing them on the shallow part myself to help them get acquainted with it. A couple of the tortoises will actually chill right where I put them for a few, while the others just swim across and high tail as fast as they can out of there. But that's a story for another post.

I followed the advise from you guys (cough* @wellington and placed a few water filled clay saucers around the enclosure and according to my spying it's been great success. They love it! Not only to drink from but to lay on it as well. I'm actually going to go to Lowes today and get a couple of bigger ones.

But most important of all, I now feel very relieved knowing that my tortoises are seeking out water regardless of their weekly soaks. It's one of those things that even if you suspect they were doing it, it's another thing to actually see it.

Anyway enjoy the pics:
View attachment 348889

View attachment 348890



View attachment 348892

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Bonus pic:
Seems I have a new visitor. A bit scared he might harrass the torts, but might also help me out with all the mice prowling around. Should I be worried?

View attachment 348895

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I have cats in my yard all the time, never seen them bother my torts. However, I do put mine in a locked shed every night. Something you should be doing. Once they are big then you wouldn't have to lock them up but if they will go in on their own at the size you cant pick them up then i would lock them in. Prevents any night critter danage and human theft.
 

Tom

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Ok so I built up a bigger pond for the tortoises in a spot with more shade. I don't expect that they'll use it on their own anytime soon so I've been manually placing them on the shallow part myself to help them get acquainted with it. A couple of the tortoises will actually chill right where I put them for a few, while the others just swim across and high tail as fast as they can out of there. But that's a story for another post.

I followed the advise from you guys (cough* @wellington and placed a few water filled clay saucers around the enclosure and according to my spying it's been great success. They love it! Not only to drink from but to lay on it as well. I'm actually going to go to Lowes today and get a couple of bigger ones.

But most important of all, I now feel very relieved knowing that my tortoises are seeking out water regardless of their weekly soaks. It's one of those things that even if you suspect they were doing it, it's another thing to actually see it.

Anyway enjoy the pics:
View attachment 348889

View attachment 348890



View attachment 348892

View attachment 348893

View attachment 348894



Bonus pic:
Seems I have a new visitor. A bit scared he might harrass the torts, but might also help me out with all the mice prowling around. Should I be worried?

View attachment 348895

View attachment 348897
Its unlikely that the cat would directly bother the tortoises, but what you have to worry is cat feces. Your tortoises will eat it.

I agree with Barb. Each and every tortoise needs to be locked up safe and secure in a night box every night. Leaving them outside will eventually result in damage or death.
 

SanctuaryHills

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Its unlikely that the cat would directly bother the tortoises, but what you have to worry is cat feces. Your tortoises will eat it.

I agree with Barb. Each and every tortoise needs to be locked up safe and secure in a night box every night. Leaving them outside will eventually result in damage or death.
Sounds about right. I use to lock them in a night box every night during the winter season and also because they were smaller then, but I suppose there is no harm in keeping that up at least until they get too heavy.

There is also a huge toad that likes to hang out in the outdoor pen due to the pond areas. Not sure how I can prevent the tortoises from eating its feces or the cats for that matter unless I happen to spot the droppings (unlikely)
 

Tom

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There is also a huge toad that likes to hang out in the outdoor pen due to the pond areas. Not sure how I can prevent the tortoises from eating its feces or the cats for that matter unless I happen to spot the droppings (unlikely)
We have toads here too. I worry about their skin toxins if eaten and their fecal pellets left in the water tubs. I remove the toads to other areas, and clean out the waters every morning.

The way to keep the cat feces out is to keep the cats out. Many ways to go about that depending on how you feel about feral cats.
 

SanctuaryHills

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We have toads here too. I worry about their skin toxins if eaten and their fecal pellets left in the water tubs. I remove the toads to other areas, and clean out the waters every morning.

The way to keep the cat feces out is to keep the cats out. Many ways to go about that depending on how you feel about feral cats.
@Tom given how many mice I saw when I set up the trail camera I was pleasantly surprised when I saw cats were starting to come around. As far as "dealing" with them I'm not sure... I definitely wouldn't want to hurt them. Also, I don't think they are defecating on the tortoise pen given there are "sandier" areas around my yard.

I've only seen two toads hanging about (really fat bastards that take really big dumps). I'll try and relocate them but with this being the only water feature on my yard I'm sure it won't take them long to come back. Perhaps I should build a pond alsewhere....

I have a REALLY old lab in the backyard but she is definitely not scaring any cats away 😂.
 

Tom

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@Tom given how many mice I saw when I set up the trail camera I was pleasantly surprised when I saw cats were starting to come around. As far as "dealing" with them I'm not sure... I definitely wouldn't want to hurt them. Also, I don't think they are defecating on the tortoise pen given there are "sandier" areas around my yard.

I've only seen two toads hanging about (really fat bastards that take really big dumps). I'll try and relocate them but with this being the only water feature on my yard I'm sure it won't take them long to come back. Perhaps I should build a pond alsewhere....

I have a REALLY old lab in the backyard but she is definitely not scaring any cats away 😂.
Feral house cats are extremely damaging to local wildlife. You can trap them with live traps and turn them into the local humane society, or you can install motion activated sprinklers to deter them from coming into your yard. The sprinklers will also work for raccoons, and other predators. Sometimes proprietary "Predator Scent" sprays work.I know of quite a few southern tortoises that have been chewed up by the local wildlife at night. It pays to be cautious BEFORE you have a catastrophe. Rats will come up and gnaw the legs of even large tortoises. Be pro-active and safe with traps. I don't like poisons because these will inadvertently kill the predators of the very animals you are trying to get rid of.
 

SanctuaryHills

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They are almost certainly invasive cane toads and should be euthanized, not relocated.
I don't know much about toads but based on the pic you linked it seems to be the Invasive Cane Toad (no crests). I went ahead and yeeted it into the trash bin where it can't get out. I'm too much of a softie to kill it and don't want to rub it with ointments and then put it on my fridge either. Here is a picture of the big bastard:
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SanctuaryHills

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Feral house cats are extremely damaging to local wildlife. You can trap them with live traps and turn them into the local humane society, or you can install motion activated sprinklers to deter them from coming into your yard. The sprinklers will also work for raccoons, and other predators. Sometimes proprietary "Predator Scent" sprays work.I know of quite a few southern tortoises that have been chewed up by the local wildlife at night. It pays to be cautious BEFORE you have a catastrophe. Rats will come up and gnaw the legs of even large tortoises. Be pro-active and safe with traps. I don't like poisons because these will inadvertently kill the predators of the very animals you are trying to get rid of.
I'll just play it safe and start locking up the tortoises up at night like I used to do in the winter time. The night-box is sealed enough to prevent anything other than ants from coming in.

It's a bit extra work but on a positive light it will force me to handle them daily when I take them in and out of the box which means they should get used to me quicker and not fear me as much.

However I would still like to get rid of the mice, if for no other reason that they can potentially spread disease. So I'll definitely set up some traps.

Regarding the cats, I agree they should be kept indoors (like I do with mine). But I really prefer not to trap what could be someone's pet. I guess I'll keep monitoring and see if they become more of a problem.
 

dd33

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Just put them in a plastic tub with a lid and put them in the fridge first then the freezer. Its a way more humane death than being thrown in the trash.
 
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Tom

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I'll just play it safe and start locking up the tortoises up at night like I used to do in the winter time. The night-box is sealed enough to prevent anything other than ants from coming in.

It's a bit extra work but on a positive light it will force me to handle them daily when I take them in and out of the box which means they should get used to me quicker and not fear me as much.

However I would still like to get rid of the mice, if for no other reason that they can potentially spread disease. So I'll definitely set up some traps.

Regarding the cats, I agree they should be kept indoors (like I do with mine). But I really prefer not to trap what could be someone's pet. I guess I'll keep monitoring and see if they become more of a problem.
I totally agree with you on the nightly handling part. I have discovered and prevented MANY problems this way.

Also agree on the mice. Get rid of as many as you can. The bane of my existence out here. All the rodents out here are a problem. Ground squirrels, gophers, rats and mice. They kill all my plants, destroy the wiring in parked cars, attack sleeping animals, destroy enclosures... I HATE them.

Ants are a big problem here too. Constantly invading my enclosures and roach bins.
 

SanctuaryHills

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Just put them in a plastic tub with a lid and put them in the fridge first then the freezer. Its a way more humane death than being thrown in the trash.
Dude I have a wife about to give birth in about a week and a half. Her OCD is off the charts sanitizing every corner of the house. If she were to find a giant frog in the freezer I'll probably end up sleeping outside with the tortoises 😅

Trash pick up is on Monday. I'm sure Mr. invasive toad will survive a trip to the landfill. In the near future I'll be able to euthanize any future invaders correctly. Right now, no frogs in the fridge for me.
 

dd33

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See, there is your problem. You need to convince your wife to put them in the freezer for you. Here I am telling you how to do it but my wife is actually the one that does all the work.
 

jeff kushner

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Amazing the knowledge gained here.....and Congrats SH on your newborn Baby!! Ought to be here soon?

I don't and likely won't ever own a big boy, ah, you DO know those guys are going to get BIG, right SH? LOL

......but its cool that I come, spend a little time and be able to walk away knowing more than when I arrived............very cool!
 
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