Want to build tortoise outdoor enclosure, how should I do it

Beloved turkey

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I have a Russian tortoise, and I want to build him an outdoor enclosure. I live in Oklahoma so it is humid, and rains a lot in the spring, and gets up into the hundreds for a couple weeks In The summer . I want to build the enclosure 8x4 ft, I was wondering if I should make it out of wood, and buy a metal plant bed as a base, how deep it needed to be if it has a floor, what I could put in, and should I make a rain cover for part of it or all of it, what can I do to keep him cool when it gets hot. And I live near woods, so what kind of kid should the enclosure have to keep him safe. The enclosure would be in a big clearing by the house so predators shouldn’t be too much of a problem but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I would also like some ideas on what kind of plants I can put in with him. Any tips and info would be greatly appreciated.
 

wellington

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Use wood not metal, metal will make the enclosure hotter, unless it's a type of metal fencing, not solid. Go bigger if you can.
When I did mine, I laid a dog wired playpen on the ground and put the sides on top of the edges. This way he couldn't dig out and the natural weeds and grass could continue to grow thru.
Provide shade or build in a half shaded area.
Offer a hide for those rainy gloomy days he might not want to come out. Also you can then lock him up at night in the hide so night predators can't get him.
Tortoisesupply.com as a good Mediterranean seed mix you could buy and plant. Good shade plants would be hostas, pothos, hibiscus, mulberry Boston ferns, to name a few.
 

Beloved turkey

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Use wood not metal, metal will make the enclosure hotter, unless it's a type of metal fencing, not solid. Go bigger if you can.
When I did mine, I laid a dog wired playpen on the ground and put the sides on top of the edges. This way he couldn't dig out and the natural weeds and grass could continue to grow thru.
Provide shade or build in a half shaded area.
Offer a hide for those rainy gloomy days he might not want to come out. Also you can then lock him up at night in the hide so night predators can't get him.
Tortoisesupply.com as a good Mediterranean seed mix you could buy and plant. Good shade plants would be hostas, pothos, hibiscus, mulberry Boston ferns, to name a few.
Thank you so much, that a good idea with locking him in at night.
 

jaizei

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The metal raised bed planters aren't a bad choice if you're only building 1 enclosure. And they're modular so you can easily expand in the future. I'd just caution to think about the hardware they assemble with, you might have to put the head on the inside to avoid sharp parts where the tortoise can reach.

You can look at how Katie does it in Arkansas, since it's prob a similar climate
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Here’s some photos to hopefully give you some ideas, the first one being a dog kennel with a barrier at the bottom would be very secure😁
Provide lots of shady spots with plants and hides😊I’m sure lots of folks can give you safe outdoor plant ideas here
 

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The_Four_Toed_Edward

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What kind of predators do you need to protect your tortoise from? Remember that chicken wire isn't really good at keeping anything out.

As for escaping, you should either dig the walls down or make a "floor" underground with netting to prevent the tortoise from digging out. If you decide to go with a design without any roof, make a lip to the enclosure wall to prevent the tortoise from trying to get out, this is important especially in the corners.
 

S2G

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Im in AL. Depends on what your dirt is like. I have rock probably 6" down so thats as far as i go. I use treated deck boards or cedar fence planks. I put mine on a slope & make sure its well drained. I till up all the grass so theyre not sitting on a damp carpet. Then i plant safe shrubs every 3ft apart id do 3 in an 8x4. Knock out roses, spirea, hardy hibiscus, & dwarf maiden grass.

You want a hide as well. I cut plastic flower pots in half & bury them half way. Its 95-100 right now so i have a beach umbrella that shade the top corners under the bushes they like.

Its rains a lot here & is really humid at times. I just make sure the top end of the pen is well drained & they have flat rocks they can get off the dirt on if they want to be more dry.

Predator wise. I just get some cheap sturdy wire & frame it with 2x4s. Right
now im just putting them up at night in their house outside, but im about to build 2 halves that lock together. That way my kids can slide one half if they need to get in there.

Winter. I use to just lock them in a cold frame. Now im chilling them in a mini fridge at 40f from nov to march so i dont have to worry about them getting out on the warm days.

Raccoons are my biggest issue. They ran sack everything at night around the pens.
 

idcowden

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Looking at Tom's habitat advice is a good idea. He's in California so his advice will probably transfer well to Oklahoma. My habitat walls go down 12 inches and then the ground is pretty much hardcore, but I'm in the UK where the worst the habitat will get is a nosey cat or fox.
 

aerosebrough

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I have a Russian tortoise, and I want to build him an outdoor enclosure. I live in Oklahoma so it is humid, and rains a lot in the spring, and gets up into the hundreds for a couple weeks In The summer . I want to build the enclosure 8x4 ft, I was wondering if I should make it out of wood, and buy a metal plant bed as a base, how deep it needed to be if it has a floor, what I could put in, and should I make a rain cover for part of it or all of it, what can I do to keep him cool when it gets hot. And I live near woods, so what kind of kid should the enclosure have to keep him safe. The enclosure would be in a big clearing by the house so predators shouldn’t be too much of a problem but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I would also like some ideas on what kind of plants I can put in with him. Any tips and info would be greatly appreciated.
I actually have a large garden area next to the house for my little guys. It came as a bricked in area covered in pebbles over soil with garden beds throughout. My guys loves going over the rocks so make sure you have a small area you fill in with a bag of pebbles or rock chips for some different stimulation.
I also have crepe myrtles already growing and some rose bushes and monkey grass. Other things grow they dont eat like lavendar, they love to hide under the lavendar and they dont like it so they wont eat it. I actually have a soil bed where i try to transplant any dandelions in the yard for them too.
Ive also put hides in various locations but their favorite spots are in corners so i just laid some bark strips over the corners for extra hide. The more ground space you give them the less down digging they do. I have one that doesnt even dig but to bury himself in rocks until the weather turns cold. My run is over 20ft long because its right next to the house.
 

The_Four_Toed_Edward

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With pebbles and rock chips you have to be of course careful that they aren't abrasive or small enough to swallow. Rock slates can also bring interest to the enclosure.
 

Beloved turkey

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Thank you all for the advice, I’ve found a frame, but it’s only 7x4.5 ft so I’ll probably try to add to it, and I’m planning to bury it down as much as I can since I don’t have many places without tree roots, I’m going to have a wire floor with wood sides, I’m still trying to make out how the top will be, but I’m planning to have a covered part and the rest open with a wire door that can lift up. Once I get the frame done I’ll find some plants and hodes
 

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