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RE: Beginner Tortoise

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Posted by: tglazie at Thu May 31 05:43:44 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tglazie ]  
   

Designing enclosures has to be one of the best parts of keeping land tortoises. First off, you should take several things into consideration. Make sure to have a spot where sun and shade are both in acceptable abundance. Put yourself in the tortoise's position. Would two square feet of shade and one cave-like shelter suit you? You would become bored with such an arrangement. Many hiding spots are a must, with interesting terrain, preferably with some sloping features (flat, desolate areas are not favored). If you have any shrubs or anything of the sort (preferably mulberry or althea, as russians enjoy this sort of thing), center your enclosure around such things. Deck the center of the pen with large stones over which the animals can crawl. Plant the enclosure with weeds such as dandelion and sow thistle. I generally go that bigger is better for tortoises, though an outdoor enclosure can be too large, so large as to allow an animal to become easily lost. For a single russian, I tend to offer at least thirty square feet (this is 3' by 10'), and a maximum of four hundred square feet (20 ft by 20 ft). I tend to push toward this maximum. I have never had a problem with predation of adult tortoises, but depending upon your individual circumstance, you may not feel comfortable taking the same chance. In this case, thirty to forty square feet would be preferable, as to allow screen cover.

Walls can be as simple as a line of cinderblocks, or wooden planks screwed together to form a box. Cinderblocks are very cumbersome, but they don't rot like planks do. Make sure to secure corners, as russians like to chimney climb their way over corners. Also, make sure to bury walls at least six inches deep, deeper should the tortoise in question be particularly adept at excavating tunnels. A simple hide tunnel can quickly turn into an escape, and when this happens, the tortoise could lose its way and get hurt.

T.G.


   

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