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#1 JenB

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Posted 22 June 2016 - 09:02 PM

Hi everyone, we have started plans to get Hank outside. I just have a few questions...
1. I don't want Hank to dig down and out so was thinking of lining the enclosure with tarpaulin. Is this ok?
2. I have an area of the enclosurewhich is sheltered at one end, do I need to put a heater inside here and is it left on all the time? I was thinking of getting a temperature controller but not sure if they are reliable?
3. If it's cold outside or really wet, do I bring him inside?

Thanks x

#2 mildredsmam

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 02:57 AM

Hi everyone, we have started plans to get Hank outside. I just have a few questions...
1. I don't want Hank to dig down and out so was thinking of lining the enclosure with tarpaulin. Is this ok?
2. I have an area of the enclosurewhich is sheltered at one end, do I need to put a heater inside here and is it left on all the time? I was thinking of getting a temperature controller but not sure if they are reliable?
3. If it's cold outside or really wet, do I bring him inside?

Thanks x

Hi Jenny,

I haven't lined any of my enclosures and I keep Horsfields, I find if they have plenty of space with loads of plants and rocks it works well, what you need to think is would it have good drainage if you were out and it pored down, enclosures work so much better with heat added to them as the heat bulbs can be put on 1st thing to warm them up and then turned off if the day is nice if the weather is a little cooler they can be left on so the tortoise has the choice to go and warm back up if needed.

It would depend on how you do the enclosure really as to leaving him outside when really wet if he has a good heated area then he'll be fine left outside as the weather can soon change it wont be good for him taking him in and out all the time, just some thing to think about while your still planning, we look forward to seeing some pictures of your new enclosure. :)



#3 wizzasmum

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 07:31 AM

I agree, lining with tarpaulin would be a flood risk and would be no barrier to a digging tortoise anyway. One of my horsfields breached a wire barrier one year. Hermanns certainly wouldn't dig out unless the barrier was only loosely fitted on top of soil. I wouldn't take him in and out either. Given the choice, you don't need to heat every shady area so long as there is somewhere to bask. They soon learn where the best spots are ;)

#4 gizmosmum

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 07:46 AM

I have a frost heater in her little house, set to 12c. It only comes on early and late in year at night. And a basking lamp for a couple of hours in the morning, this was on for longer but she didn't use it so I set it for less.

#5 JenB

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 06:49 PM

Hi, thanks everyone. I didn't think about flooding risk...feel a bit daft now! So do they generally not dig out if it doesn't need a lining?

How do you have you basking lamp set up? Just wondering how to shelter the actual lamp from the weather?

My plan was to turn this seat on its back, secure the sides and make and home on the inside with rocks and plants and soil with a wooden house with a heater at one corner. What do you think?

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#6 wizzasmum

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:19 PM

Basking lamps have to be situated in hides, cold frames or greenhouses. You don't need to furnish the hide if he has access to the garden. Whatever you use it needs to be weather proof.

#7 gizmosmum

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 06:24 AM

This is what I have, the outside light under her conservatory(a shower screen) is a bit of an experiment. I turn it on on dull miserable days, she does sit under there alot. When it's sunny it's very warm under there so she's learned to go there before light was added.inside little house is 200watt thermostatic frost heater and basking lamp, on a timer. There is also plastic curtain over her door made from a laminating pouch cut into strips.
Attached File  IMG_20151213_115703.jpg   75.14KB   1 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20160615_092246.jpg   90.78KB   1 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20160523_133224.jpg   63.3KB   1 downloadsAttached File  IMG_20160426_120706.jpg   61.51KB   1 downloads

#8 gizmosmum

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 06:28 AM

Hi, thanks everyone. I didn't think about flooding risk...feel a bit daft now! So do they generally not dig out if it doesn't need a lining?
How do you have you basking lamp set up? Just wondering how to shelter the actual lamp from the weather?
My plan was to turn this seat on its back, secure the sides and make and home on the inside with rocks and plants and soil with a wooden house with a heater at one corner. What do you think?

Hi, thanks everyone. I didn't think about flooding risk...feel a bit daft now! So do they generally not dig out if it doesn't need a lining?
How do you have you basking lamp set up? Just wondering how to shelter the actual lamp from the weather?
My plan was to turn this seat on its back, secure the sides and make and home on the inside with rocks and plants and soil with a wooden house with a heater at one corner. What do you think?

If you turn it on its front you have a shelter with the seat, build up sides abit. With a bit of fixing this could be ok.

#9 JenB

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    I am an A and E nurse in Manchester and love every minute of it.

    Love camping, cycling and anything fun and exciting.

    We have two cats, Marilyn and Jimmy and now our new addition Hank the tortoise!

Posted 24 June 2016 - 06:42 AM

That's amazing! Thanks, I really appreciate your help. I just couldn't get my head round the lamps lol.
I'm excited about getting him outside. Just seeing how happy he has been in his table from a vivarium is really encouraging. He has never hibernated though so that will be the next scarey step I will nag you all about lol.
I will send some pics of his house as I go along!

Thank you xxx

#10 mildredsmam

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 04:53 AM

That's amazing! Thanks, I really appreciate your help. I just couldn't get my head round the lamps lol.
I'm excited about getting him outside. Just seeing how happy he has been in his table from a vivarium is really encouraging. He has never hibernated though so that will be the next scarey step I will nag you all about lol.
I will send some pics of his house as I go along!

Thank you xxx

Morning Jenny,

When the time comes were all here to help with hibernation, it does seem a little scary at 1st but you'll be fine if it's done right. :)

You'll see a difference in him once he's outside compared to been in a vivarium or even a table he'll love it, how's the enclosure coming on. :)



#11 JenB

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    Love camping, cycling and anything fun and exciting.

    We have two cats, Marilyn and Jimmy and now our new addition Hank the tortoise!

Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:07 AM

Well the rain yesterday and an angry 2 year old has slowed us down. Andy was going to run the electrics from the sitting room outside but couldn't do it because of the weather. We are planning that for another day now.
We have the structure ready, I just need to go out and buy some plants that he won't gobble up within a millisecond lol.

#12 mildredsmam

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 10:50 AM

Well the rain yesterday and an angry 2 year old has slowed us down. Andy was going to run the electrics from the sitting room outside but couldn't do it because of the weather. We are planning that for another day now.
We have the structure ready, I just need to go out and buy some plants that he won't gobble up within a millisecond lol.

If you plant things like ornamental grass, hebe, heather, lavender, lavatera and hibiscus they don't normally eat these but are ok if they do, these seem to work really well in an enclosure, just to give you a few ideas. :)



#13 JenB

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:14 PM

The beginning.....

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#14 wizzasmum

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 07:59 PM

You don't need the mesh Jen, it can trap claws.

#15 JenB

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 08:54 AM

I was going to bury the mesh and cover with lots of soil. I was worried about him digging out? Do I not need anything as a base then?

#16 wizzasmum

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 02:24 PM

I was going to bury the mesh and cover with lots of soil. I was worried about him digging out? Do I not need anything as a base then?


No, he will still get his claws caught. The way you make it safe is to bury bricks, planks etc on the perimeter. He won't dig out unless he was to hibernate and come up elsewhere. To be honest though I thought you were using the bench as his hide area. I'd expect him to be far too big to accept that as his whole enclosure. I might be wrong but I know my six year olds would find the area far too restricting to be honest and would be doing their best to escape :/

#17 mildredsmam

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 03:43 AM

Hi Jenny,

Im with Sue I also thought the bench was going to be used as a hide area not for the enclosure, just to give you something to think about before you carry on with the enclosure as I know you want to get it just right, I would make it bigger than it is tortoises do need a lot of space and when given the space with plenty of rocks and plants they tend not to try and escape but with smaller enclosures they do, a bigger enclosure would also last a very long time so you would just keep on top of it not having to make a bigger enclosure in a couple of years time, I've seen a lot of enclosures done with things like decking boards easy to make and work well, i'll try and post a picture of my enclosure later to give you some ideas, as my laptops playing up at the minute. :)



#18 JenB

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    We have two cats, Marilyn and Jimmy and now our new addition Hank the tortoise!

Posted 01 July 2016 - 05:46 PM

Hi, thanks for the advice. We are going to expand around the outside of it. I am using the kennel as his hide. I have bought a tube frost heater to go inside it.
I haven't got a basking lamp for outdoors yet. I tried the link on your website Sue but it didn't seem to work.
How big does the enclosure need to be? If the weather is better tomorrow, I'm going out digging again.

#19 JenB

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    I am an A and E nurse in Manchester and love every minute of it.

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    We have two cats, Marilyn and Jimmy and now our new addition Hank the tortoise!

Posted 02 July 2016 - 04:07 PM

Started to expand today...

Hank had a test run too, he seemed to like it. It does look smaller on the pictures, I will have to measure up tomorrow. It's bigger than what he has now and miles away from the ugly vivarium he came in.
I might have to start him with this space and expand out next year. I don't want him to miss the summer outside this year.

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#20 mildredsmam

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 06:26 AM

Morning Jenny,

You would only need a tube frost heater for when the temperatures drop low and he's outside all the time, but a basking lamp is a good idea especially with the rubbish weather we've had, just make sure the kennel is high enough to give a good height of the bulb and also wide enough. :)

For size you need to make the enclosure as big as you can with a good boundary that he can't climb over or see through, if there's gaps he can see  through he will stress him self trying to escape their really good at climbing and escaping, a friend of mine has lost one of hers from the enclosure he's been missing over a week now and she's really upset that's why it's so important to get it right, but also a good enclosure does take time it doesn't happen over night and I agree he's come along way from been in that awful vivarium. :)

Here's a couple of pictures of my enclosure it might give you some ideas.

 SAM_2356_zps17ttyomh.jpg

 SAM_2354_zps8f7t5eyu.jpg

Hope that helps. :)






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