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Member Since 12 Sep 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 14 2012 10:40 PM

Topics I've Started

Introducing Vagrant, The Wanderlust Tortoise

12 September 2012 - 08:33 PM

Hello. I've just joined because I need advice on the contruction and upkeep of a Hermann's tortoise. I've had some bum advice from pet shops and am in the process of doing my own research to remedy this.

I've started a topic in the Indoor enclosures forum called Building a big box and would be grateful for any assistance with the planning that members could offer.


P.S. why Vagrant as my username? Because our newest little chelonic addition is clearly a born wanderer. Given a free reign, I think he'd happily trek south for the winter! He seems very put-out that there is a locked gate at the bottom of the garden, and consistently seeks it out, perhaps in the optimistic hope that he will one day find it open!

Building A Big Box

12 September 2012 - 08:28 PM

Hello. My sister has acquired an adult Hermann's with a personality and a desire to use his feet.

Based on poor initial advice from a pet shop, whose owner endeavoured to impress upon us how simple reptile-ownership is, we came away with a 3' x 18" vivarium which subsequent research has revealed is completely unsuitable. So, I've made the best of the situation for the moment and am planning a table. An outdoor enclosure is not feasible at the moment, but he will have regular supervised walks on a lawn.

My question is this: what is the quickest, cheapest and best way to construct a 5' x 2'6" wooden box for a tortoise to live in?

My current thinking, and detailed questions, are as follows:
1. a combined heat and UV lamp (variously referred to as a UV-B heat lamp or a self-ballasted mercury vapour lamp). Is this really a better option than separate heat and UV lamps, and if so, where and from whom can I get a good one?

2. when food plants become available (grown from seed in the greenhouse) they will be dispersed in seed trays or sunken pots arranged adjacent to the rambling zone, the soil to be surfaced with a scattering of stones to stabilise it and create a grazing area. Additional food to be provided as needed.

3. substrate: the base of the table will be lined with pond liner and the primary substrate will be a mix of B&Q topsoil and playsand.

4. a sleeping area will be provided in the form of a hut or other shade and will be located at the cooler end of the table (although I have already noticed that he consistently sleeps in the basking area of the vivarium).

5. the lights will ideally be timer controlled.

Thanks in advance for your time and help.

Edit: just occured to me - are there any particular woods or other materials that I should prefer or avoid?

Edit2: more questions! How high above the nominal table surface (depending on the depth of the substrate) should the heat lamp be positioned? Is it advisable to make it height adjustable?