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#1 StGeorge1984

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 12:30 AM

I all. Find attached some development pictures of my up and coming enclosure. The enclosure measures about 12ft x 3 ft.

I plan to have the enclosure in the flower bed behind the current build you see happening. Although I will have hermann's I will be putting wire mesh around the base legs and these as well as the first couple of inches of the bottom boards will be covered.

Q1. Will the soil in the flowerbed behind be rich enough for the tortoises. Weeds grow well and I am weeding approximately every 2-3 days. Looking at some other enclosures on here there is deep brown looking soil.

Q2. At the far left end where you see the small lift flap will contain a cold house. Is it sufficient to just have the lid and a side panel? How sufficient will this be for the tortoises for heating themselves?

Q3. The large box end will be where their main home will be. As they are completely detached from the house I eventually plan to get electrics to the house there however for the time being there will be none. What is the best ways to insulate this? I was thinking duel paneled house and buying some easy cut foam insulation like seen between the walls on flat pack houses. It is higher as I want the house to be taller to limit injury to the tortoises from heat/lights.

Q4. I understand the the enclosure should have loads of lumps and bumps, plants and hideaways which I plan to do however what different substrates should be present. One website advised a spoil/sand mixture but on here this seems to be advised against. Should I place flat pebbles in the feeding and waterhole? Can I use pebbles from the beach? Would I need to boil this first to reduce the salt and toxins in them?

Thank you for your valued input and I look forward to hearing from you

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#2 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 09:29 AM

I'm taking it this is for babies, as adult hermanns will need a lot more room.

The soil needs to be as poor as possible to support weed growth - rich soil discourages weeds and is not what is found in their natural habitat, which is what you need to be recreating as closely as possible. It needs to be in full sun and not overshadowed by other buildings if possible.

Not sure what you mean by a cold house, do you mean a cold frame/greenhouse type affair? If so this will be fine for summer, but not at either end of the season, when you will need additional background heat to get them moving, as activity and digestion are governed by the core heat of the tortoise.

Electrics are vital as you can get periods of bad weather in this country for several days and with no sun there will not be enough heat for digestion etc. Insulation is fine to prevent frost penetrating but will not keep the tortoises warm as they are cold blooded and so will take up the temperature of their surroundings, even when dug down.

Pebbles are fine as presumably water would be changed daily or flooded to feed the area.

Yes. lots of bumps and hideaways are a good idea, but you will need a bigger area to do this as they need to use the areas for hiding and to break up the line of sight. Fine for babies but not for anything bigger to be honest. I have a converted small sailing boat which is great for little ones, but juveniles go crazy in there and constantly try to escape.

Hope this helps ;)



#3 StGeorge1984

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:19 AM

Hi wizzamum,

When you say babies what age is that range. They are approximately 3 years old. They can have free reign of the garden when being monitored but we have lots of cats in the area. I do plan to extend eventually but funds are tight at the moment and what they are getting is miles better than where they currently are.

With regards to heating etc. What is advised? Do they need just a tubular heater or do they also need a basking lamp?

Thanks again.

#4 StGeorge1984

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:11 PM

Here is it so far. Looking for advice on plants please. I have decided to keep the house separate allowing more room for. The enclosure. Their house will be off of the closer end with an access panel to get in. I am building the house from scratch.

What dimensions are advisable to ensure adequate heating etc. I will also be extending through the rest of the flowerbed up to the tree. Once they are bigger to allow adequate room.will post picture when able.

I will be buying pebbles a feeding slate and water bowl today.

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#5 Guest_Wizzasmum_*

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:18 PM

I would consider babies to be up to around the 80 gram mark. Age is hard to guess at size wise, as some people grow them much faster than others. At 3 years I would guess at still way less than 100 grams, so fine for this size, but bigger and they may well be climbing the walls, literally ;) I would add a heat source of around 200 watts for an area that is open to the outdoors, but less if it is closed. A tubular heater is only really of use to keep the frost off, but will not warm the tortoise, as being cold blooded, they will still feel cold to the touch in a hot room, unless basking. A hot spot will be needed, which can be on a timer, so they will go outdoors of their own accord, once warmed up. Hope this helps



#6 StGeorge1984

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 07:33 PM

Ok I have added some plants. Is there any further advice for this enclosure as it currently stands?

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#7 Beermat89

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 09:24 PM

Enclosure is looking good,the plants might not last long tho due to eating and trampling them lol.as they are confined to a smaller area I wouldn't of put the plants around the edges as they will walk the perimeter a lot trashing the plants but that's my opinion but looking good tho :)
Regards matt

#8 StGeorge1984

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 07:09 PM

Here is a few updated pictures of the house I am building them.the area won't be so confined when I am supervising them as they will have free reign of the garden. As you can see it's purpose built and is fully insulated with vapour membrane. The floor is also insulates with the same. Still need to build the roof and the doors once cladding is finished.

Darren

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#9 mildredsmam

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:33 AM

Hi Darren, that looks great. :)  is the opening for the torts to get in going to be at floor level. ;)



#10 StGeorge1984

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:45 AM

The one on the long side will be near to ground level but both will have safe ramps into garden/enclosure.

#11 StGeorge1984

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:26 PM

Finally finished their house. Need to put it in place (it's really heavy) and link to outside enclosure. I then have a sparky booked in to link electricity. So close for Harry and Hermoine.

Would you advise just a heat lamp being needed or is there anything else I need wires up?

Thank you, Darren.

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#12 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:10 PM

That looks great Darren. I would put in some electrics for a heat lamp, you will probably need extra heat in the spring and autumn. X x x hugs x x x

#13 StGeorge1984

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 09:11 PM

Is it just a basking light I will need? What wattage is recommended? I will be ordering this in the next few days. I will ensure the light height can be changed to regulate temps correctly.

It's fully insulated so will not be penetrated by frost.

Here is the finished product. When I build my patio at the back of the garden I will be able to double or probably triple the size but currently the concrete path is limiting the size.

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#14 Guest_Stella_*

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 04:43 AM

Mine is just a heat light at the moment. I am not sure about the wattage, I have a man that does all that stuff for me but I am sure someone will come and give you the details. I (the royal 'I') add a basking lamp for the winter months when they choose not to go outside so much,

Tort Lodge is insulated, and has a 'pit' a couple of feet deep full of soil for hibernation purposes. I have had a few years successful hibernation this way. You may want to consider this on stage 2 of developments. It is just another alternative way to hibernate which I find suits me and my torts. X x xhugs x x

#15 mildredsmam

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 05:38 AM

Hi Darren,

It looks great :)  as you say you might need to make some adjustments next year, making it bigger etc.

For the heating it depends on how long the torts will be using this enclosure, if your bringing them inside over winter, or hibernating them some where else then you would just need a basking lamp in there, if your planning on hibernating them in there then I would say you would need some thing like a tube heater on a thermostat for times when the temps drop to low. :)



#16 StGeorge1984

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 10:47 AM

Does anyone have a link to a good website for purchasing mvb bulb and set up. Ideally I would like the appropriate holder where I can regulate the heat by moving it up or down. I was thinking of linking a chain to it so it can be hooked and raised up and down. Also anyone know a good tubular heater set up with thermostat so temps can be regulated for hibernation?

Thank you so much for all of the help so far x

#17 mildredsmam

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:39 AM

Hi Darren,

Have a look on Sue's site it gives you some links to places that sells lighting and tube heaters etc, and also you might find some of the other information on there useful  http://www.tortsmad.com/:)



#18 StGeorge1984

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 07:24 PM

Thank you

#19 Guest_SueBoyle (was wizzasmum)_*

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:09 PM

You will probably have to have a separate thermostat - plug in ones are very reasonably priced and then the tubes just plug into them.



#20 StGeorge1984

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:40 PM

Ok thank you.




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