New Member
Jan 5, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Bay Area, California

I am thinking about getting my first tortoise (Russian). Given the climate and weather in my area, I would like to keep it indoors (with the proper light, enclosure size, etc. of course), and I am having a bit of difficulty picking potential enclosures.

In what I've gathered from researching so far, it seems like the only three options for enclosures are glass aquariums (a big no-no unless you put tape around the tortoise's sight line, which I dislike the look of , plus they're unnecessarily tall), cement mixing tubs (which don't look very nice), and tortoise tables. I don't have anything against tortoise tables as a concept, but they all seem to be made of wood... which I don't really understand. Wood sounds difficult to clean, and it seems to me that it would absorb urine and other odorous fluids over time, causing the entire enclosure to permanently stink (anyone who's kept rabbits in a wooden hutch will understand how bad this can get). Of course you can prevent and limit this somewhat by spot cleaning the substrate daily, but I simply cannot imagine that this solves the problem completely, unless you manage to know exactly where and when your tortoise pees every single time. I would also worry about the humidity causing it to rot.

So given all of this, my questions are:
  1. Do wooden tortoise enclosures really, truly not smell?
  2. Do tortoise tables come in materials other than wood, and if so, where can I find one?
  3. Are there any other alternative indoor enclosures besides the ones mentioned that you recommend?

I have no experience with Tortoises yet, so I would really appreciate experienced opinions! Thanks in advance.


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
May 15, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
Malverne, NY
You are in luck... @Markw84 has one of the best if not the best tortoise enclosures for sale. The best part is that he is in California as well so getting it shouldn't be that hard. I would reach out to him first and then look at other pvc enclosure makers next


Active Member
Aug 4, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Hello and welcome. There is lots of good info here on the forum. Use the search function and you can find almost anything you are looking for.
A wood enclosure will need to be lined with pond liner or some type of thick plastic. There are a few people here making enclosure from something called expanded PVC. ( I don’t have experience with that)
The tortoise table or tub will need some type of cover too keep heat and humidity in. I’ve seen people are having success with light weight grow tents.
be sure to check out the care sheets in the Russian sub forum.


New Member
Jan 17, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
We just finished a new enclosure for our red foot tortoise. We don't have a lot of wood working tools and we couldn't find a good option on line. Our redfoot was outgrowing the clear Rubbermaid container we were using. I found a cold frame kit on Amazon. We put a plywood floor in it. Home Depot cut it to size for us. Sealed around the bottom edge with silicon. Then we waterproofed up past where the substrate will go with clear flex seal spray. A couple cup hooks for the lights. We are leaving the back lid open a bit for ventalation so we just hooked the mister hose over the top. Looks great. Double his space. We did let the flex seal dry for a couple days before putting the tortoise in. Project was super easy. Oh, we soak our tortoise daily and he usually does his business in the bath. Never had issues with smell. Only issue is little flys from the substrate. A pitcher plant next to the enclosure helps.


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