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Help with building my outdoor enclosure!

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#1 Guest_Ellie Rose_*

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 05:37 PM

Hi there- I'm going to build an outdoor enclosure for my 8 year old herman this summer, and I need a bit of advice. I've been looking around the forums at peoples and I'm wondering what the basic specifications are like "2/3 grass cover, 1/3 plants"? and "area should be 40 times the length of your tortoise" or something like that? What is the general idea? And also can tortoises that age live outside all the time? If I add a little shelter box type area with a heat lamp & mat?
At the moment she is banished from the entirety of the garden and just has rabbit runs joined together in the centre of the lawn. This gives her about 3x3m (ish) but she is constantly clawing at the sides to get out ):
My mum is incredibly posessive over her garden so if I let her roam through her plant borders will the tortoise trample/eat everything? Or shall I just let her have the grassy area in the centre of the garden? (pictured below)

(You can see her current horrible set up in the centre of the lawn- dreadful I know!)
The solid red line would be where I would be planning to put a fence, but after reading about peoples enclosures apparrently a completely grass enclosure isn't ideal? So I'm now thinking of extending into the border somewhat (the red dotted line) The concrete surround of the lawn is 2 feet deep so there won't be any problems of burrowing out.
The other question is- What type of fence to use? I was thinking the green short wire type you can buy on a roll at most garden centres - but would she just break through this?
Thanks so much- sorry for my wordy essay!!!

#2 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 10:36 PM

Hi Ellie,
I have seen the pics of your torts. outside enclosure and I understand your situation.Ideally it would be great if you could persuade your mum to allow your tort. to use the garden. Torts do very little damage and usually use shrubs as cover and as a place to hide.What would be a worry would be the use of poisonous pesticides,pellits or weed killers in your garden.These could prove fatal to your tortoise.Best to have a talk with your mum and see if you can come to some kind of compromise.Torts. do not like to be confined. If you could provide more space for your tort. he would be much happier! biggrin.gif
Kind Regards

#3 Guest_jackiedots_*

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 03:39 PM

Hi Ellie,

The garden looks a lovely place to keep a tort but meanwhile, until your mother and you decide what bits your tort can use you would be better to put something to obstruct your tortoises view around the area at the bottom of your runs. If you had something about 8 - 10 inches high so that your tort cannot see out of the runs she will stop trying to claw at the sides to get out. You could put some plastic or something around the outside just to stop her having a view. The grass is always greener as they say !!! One of my torts was constantly trying to get through the bars of her fence until I put plastic all round the bottom. She never tries now, at least not when I am watching her anyway !!
I hope this works until you decide what you are going to do.

#4 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:57 PM

Hi again Ellie,On the question of whether or not your tortoise could live outside all the time.As he is nearly an adult this would be OK.The outdoor shelter box is a good idea and would provide your tort with a place to go at night.Also make sure the ground/grass of your garden is the floor of the shelter as this is better for the torts. temperature self regulation.On warm or mild nights I would leave Tiggy outdoors but on colder nights I'd bring him inside. Like me,you will find yourself keeping a regular eye on the weather forecast. I hope this info.is of help!!!Best of luck with Tiggy,Ellie!!! :D Kind RegardsFreddy & Billiejo :D P.S The fencing idea is a good one and will also help keep Tiggy safe and secure!!! :D I would also extend his space to the dotted line which would include the cover of plants and shrubs!!!

#5 Guest_Ellie Rose_*

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:00 PM

Hi Freddy And Billiejo! :wub: Thankyou for your replies! Mum is now thinking of compromising and letting Tiggy have a oval enclosure type thing in the centre of the garden, where I can dig up and plant as many weeds/plants as I like! However this would only be around 3x4m at most - Is this big enough for an adult herman? I will include a sheltered area as suggested! Is a cool box a good idea too?Thanks!Ellie &Tiggy :P

#6 Guest_Ellie Rose_*

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 05:01 PM

Hi Jackie,Thankyou so much for that insight about the plastic! I will get at it right away! I'm sure he will be much more happier now :wub: Ellie

#7 Guest_Freddy McGavin_*

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:03 PM

Hi Ellie & Tiggy,The more space you have for your adult tort. the better. I suppose you'll have to make do with what you have although I think your new space could be bigger!!! But I know it's a compromise and it is a big improvement!!!So we won't be greedy!!!ha ha!!! Anyway,plant plenty of weeds/plants .These will act as both food and cover for your tort. A rather biggish sized shelter box should be a sufficient retreat.But there's no harm in providing a cool box as well!!! Hope this is of help Ellie!!! :rolleyes: Best of luck to you and Tiggy!!! ;) RegardsFreddy&Billiejo :D P.S You could also try growing lettuce!!! Torts. love this!!!

#8 Guest_Pat_*

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:45 PM

Hi Ellie

Good news that you are planning an outdoor enclosure, my 2 one year olds love being outdoors. I had the same dilema so I turned the border at the bottom of the garden into a wild plant area (tort friendly plants and flowers) with their house painted to blend in. They have lots of areas to hide and graze.

It is also covered in black netting (it is invisible from a distance). Torty outside enclosures can look just as pretty as a planned organised border. Wherever you choose, it should be where you get the maximum sunlight for the greatest part of the day.

Suggest to your mom that you have one of the sunny borders around the lawn rather than on the lawn and plant it out with a flower and weed mix. You will be surprised at how much selection there is of pretty flowers.

Enjoy planning!


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