A big thank you & my new enclosure

Krista S

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Aug 4, 2019
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493
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Saskatchewan
Wow- this is impressive. I have been exploring the PVC options at home depot and this is a great example of how it could go thank you for posting pics. how I have a 3yo herman and a 10yo Russian in separate enclosures that I need to expand. I'm in Chicago and a condo dweller so outdoors is a no go. It is excellent in the simplicity of the plan itself i love the fold out door etc.
Home Depot in my area sells this in sheets but I don't have the knowledge or the equipment to cut or put together the pieces. How moveable would you say this table is- you said it was too big to get up the stairs but do you think this could be dismantled if you had to move? Also what the frame - was this also custom built or is this a coffee table or something? Are those real plants?

Thank you so much! You’re very lucky if you can get expanded pvc at Home Depot, that’s a big bonus right there. If you do have an enclosure built like this, that fold out door is a must in my opinion. It would be very challenging to spot clean, clean water bowls and food dishes, etc without that. I debated a bit between 1/2” and 3/4” expanded pvc because there was quite a price difference (3/4” was $300/sheet and I believe 1/2” was around $240/sheet), but I’m so glad I went with 3/4”. Especially because these are just screwed together 3/4” make it much more solid. My goal here was to invest more now so that it’ll last for the foreseeable future. I understand that expanded pvc is much more affordable in the US, so don’t let my $300/sheet scare you from pursuing this material.

Once the enclosure is put together it’s quite heavy. In the first photos you see it’s up against a wall under a window. When it was time to set it up I needed it moved to the other side of the bedroom (where the original enclosure was) and it took 3 adults to move. The individually cut pieces are not heavy, because I helped the guy haul them upstairs, it’s just not something you want to move while assembled unless necessary. Because it wouldn’t fit up the stairs (which thankfully I knew in advance) he didn’t use any pvc glue when he put it together. If/when the day comes that I decide to move, the pieces would just need to be unscrewed from each other and I would imagine the silicone on the seams would have to be cut too.

The frame is actually a steel platform bed frame that I bought for this purpose. I looked at having a stand built, but once I thought of the idea to use a bed frame, it just made sense to go that route. It’s sturdy and looks great. It was around $120 for the frame where as the lumber to build one that would look good, plus labour, paint, etc would have likely cost more. Bed frames come in all different sizes, so there’s likely to be one that would work for whatever size enclosure you make. I’ve enjoyed having that storage space under the bed frame as well.

As for the plants, it’s a mixture of real and fake. Dozer doesn’t seem to discriminate on the real vs fake...thank goodness. He loves using all of them as little hiding spots or trampling the fake greenery I have in the corners. I have some spider plants I’ve been growing out for a year or so that I need to repot and put in there yet.

If you have any other questions, don‘t hesitate to ask! 🙂
- Krista
 

Relic

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Sep 8, 2018
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It's a great enclosure, and one that will not be outgrown by the tortoise in short order like so many others that we see. The only thing I would want - if it were mine, and if I had room for it, and if the wife would permit it, etc. - would be wheels on the bottom so it could be rolled by one person if absolutely necessary. Like, say, you've dropped your Congressional Medal of Honor and it's bounced way up under the box, out of reach...
 

Krista S

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Aug 4, 2019
Messages
493
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
It's a great enclosure, and one that will not be outgrown by the tortoise in short order like so many others that we see. The only thing I would want - if it were mine, and if I had room for it, and if the wife would permit it, etc. - would be wheels on the bottom so it could be rolled by one person if absolutely necessary. Like, say, you've dropped your Congressional Medal of Honor and it's bounced way up under the box, out of reach...
I had always heard that a benefit of expanded pvc is that it’s light weight, so I was really surprised just how heavy it was when it was put together. Of course the weight of the steel frame also adds to the total weight. My first thought when I realized the weight, was that maybe I should have gotten a frame with wheels. It really was only a pain for moving it to the side of the room before I set it up. I ended up buying some of those carpet sliders to help with the move and they were helpful. There’s really nowhere else the enclosure could work in the bedroom, so I shouldn’t need to move it again for a long time. The frame is about 14 inches tall, so it’s fairly easy to get under neath it if I need to. But yes, anyone else who is looking to do something similar, try and look for a frame with wheels.
 

DublinTortyMama

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Nov 26, 2020
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Dublin
Hey Krista,

this is amazing!!! Just wondered what plants you have in here that are hermanns torty friendly? I have the exact same little torty and im building my own enclosure like this atm 🐢❤️😍
 

Krista S

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Aug 4, 2019
Messages
493
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Hey Krista,

this is amazing!!! Just wondered what plants you have in here that are hermanns torty friendly? I have the exact same little torty and im building my own enclosure like this atm 🐢😍
At this moment, the only real plant is the pothos in the middle of the enclosure. I had a beautiful and very full Boston fern that I grew out for a year for this enclosure, but unfortunately it didn’t handle the climate in Dozer’s room when I moved it in there. In less than 2 weeks it was dead :( So then I was in a panic for a large plant that would provide a lot of cover, so I ordered the artificial monstera leaves and made my own big plant. It worked out well, but I’m still sad about the Boston fern lol. I have spider plants and aloe that are ready to be moved into the new enclosure, but I have to re-pot them first. So to answer your question on real plants that are tort safe, boston fern, pothos, spider plants and aloe are common and popular choices. I got all heavy pots so that Dozer can’t as easily live up to his name and immediately bulldoze them over. For the artificial monstera, I only had a light weight pot that could handle that arrangement, so I filled it with several pounds of river rocks. I don’t put real plants in the enclosure that are freshly bought from a store or greenhouse. If I buy new, for my peace of mind I change the dirt and grow it out for a year first to make sure any chemicals or pesticides are long gone.

Good luck with your enclosure! I’d love to see it when you’re done. 🙂
 

Taylorlynn48

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Joined
Mar 24, 2020
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469
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Abington
I first want to thank all of the members who are putting in countless hours posting replies and helping people out. I, like many others, did an enormous amount of research before getting my Hermann’s tortoise. I was so confused by all the conflicting information. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to give my tortoise the best possible like I could. Thankfully I found this forum before I brought my tortoise home. I don’t just want him to survive, I want him to thrive. Reading all of the advice the experts have given other people has indirectly helped me so much and has prepared me for situations that I could come across in the future. I am more grateful than I can even express.

So this is my tortoise, Dozer. He’s an Eastern Hermann’s tortoise and I got him from a breeder in Northern Saskatchewan on August 2, 2019. It was an 8 hour round trip to go get him, and it was love at first sight. His hatch date is May 4th, 2019 and when I got him, he weighed just 24 grams. Today he is just shy of 13 1/2 cm long and weighs 480 grams.
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I recently had a new enclosure built for him out of 3/4” expanded PVC. It is approx 7ft x 4ft and has 2ft high walls. It is an open top enclosure. I have his setup in a west facing spare bedroom on the 2nd floor of my house. This is the warmest room in the house and I’ve been able to maintain the temps and humidity he requires fairly easily. This is a smaller bedroom, so I think that helps a lot. I do have the option of throwing a tarp over it or fully enclosing it down the road if I feel it’s necessary. I am using 65 watt incandescent flood light bulbs (br30) on both ends of the enclosure. The lamp stand in the middle has a che in it that is on a thermostat. I’m also using a zoo med 10.0 uv fluorescent tube in a Sunblaster fixture. Because I live in a place that has way too many cold months, Dozer has to live indoors year round. He is able to spend a little bit of time in an outdoor enclosure in the few summer months we have but that doesn’t amount to too much outside time in a year.

This is the new enclosure once it was brought to my house and assembled. It had to be assembled onsite as it wouldn’t fit up the stairs otherwise. The 3/4” pieces are just screwed together and some marine grade silicone is on the inside seams.

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And here is the enclosure all set up.
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I was so afraid of how he was going to handle the move to the new enclosure. Once I had the enclosure I started to let Dozer run around in it for a few minutes at a time and I placed some of the new things in the enclosure so he could get used to seeing some of it. The enclosure wasn’t fully set up or anything, it was just to slowly ease him into being in the new space. The first time I placed him in it, he didn’t even move. The second time he ventured out a couple of feet...and after a month of spending little bits of time in it, it was almost like he would get mad when I’d take him out of the new enclosure to put him back in his old enclosure. That’s when I knew he was ready for the move. So he’s been in the new enclosure for about 2 weeks now. He’s adjusted really well. It’s been really fun watching him explore and figuring out what he does and doesn’t like. It seems everyday so far I’ve made an adjustment of some sort. This little guy has brought so much joy and purpose to my life. I can’t imagine life without him.
Just WOW!
Where did you get the tortoise picture from? I absolutely love that.
 

Taylorlynn48

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Mar 24, 2020
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469
Location (City and/or State)
Abington
I love how western hermans stand on their front feet like that! IT looks like they are posing for the camera!!
 

Krista S

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Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
493
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Just WOW!
Where did you get the tortoise picture from? I absolutely love that.
Thank you! I found the large tortoise canvas on amazon.ca maybe 5 months ago. When I saw it I knew it would be just perfect for Dozer’s room. The colours look more muted in the picture than it is in person.
 
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