Enclosure transitions from baby to adult?

LeahK

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
78
Location (City and/or State)
Berkeley CA
Hey everyone!

I am seriously considering getting a baby Hermann’s tortoise, and there are a ton of good resources on here for helping me see what I need. If I get it, this would be my first hatchling.

There is one thing I can’t figure out - how do you know when to size up the enclosure? How long would it take between changes?

Specifically, if I get a hatchling, I know that I can set it up nicely in a small, 2x4 container. When do you decide that the hatchling is big enough to move to a full, adult sized enclosure, that’s not fully insulated / regulated? Do you need other closed-chamber steps in between? I’m not fully sure when you’d go from a closed chamber to making sure the tort has enough room.

Any advice or experience is appreciated! If you could give year estimates as well, that would be great too!
 

Krista S

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
836
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Hey everyone!

I am seriously considering getting a baby Hermann’s tortoise, and there are a ton of good resources on here for helping me see what I need. If I get it, this would be my first hatchling.

There is one thing I can’t figure out - how do you know when to size up the enclosure? How long would it take between changes?

Specifically, if I get a hatchling, I know that I can set it up nicely in a small, 2x4 container. When do you decide that the hatchling is big enough to move to a full, adult sized enclosure, that’s not fully insulated / regulated? Do you need other closed-chamber steps in between? I’m not fully sure when you’d go from a closed chamber to making sure the tort has enough room.

Any advice or experience is appreciated! If you could give year estimates as well, that would be great too!
Hello! It’s great that you’re doing all of this research before you bring your tortoise home. Not too many plan ahead, so you’re very wise to do so. I don’t know that anyone can give you a clear cut answer on how long to transition to an adult sized enclosure. The reason for this is because they all grow at different rates. I have a Hermann’s tortoise who turned 2 in May, but I got him when he was 3 months old and weighed under 30 grams. I started him in in 36x18x18 ExoTerra and in less than a year I was on the hunt for a new enclosure. He grew quite quickly…or at least quicker than I expected, so I wish I had gone bigger right away and just sectioned off part of the enclosure until he needed it. At around 20 months old is when I moved my tortoise into his current home which is about 7ft by 4ft, and he uses every bit of it. I’m already trying to think of ways to give him even more space in another year or so, and he’s only been in the new enclosure for about 5 months. Closed chamber or ”tortoise table” I think depends on the environment you have to house him in. I think in a lot of situations a closed chamber is probably better, but I went with a tortoise table style of enclosure. It works for me because I have his enclosure in a small bedroom on the 2nd floor of my house (hot air rises) and I find it very easy to maintain proper temps and humidity in that bedroom. If you’re going to have the enclosure in a main living space in your house or in a bedroom that is also occupied by a human, then I think 100% a closed chamber is the way to go. I had my enclosure built with tall enough walls so that if I want to fully enclose it in the future it will be easy to do so. This way if my circumstances change and I can’t regulate the temp and humidity, I can just close it up and it won’t be a big deal. That’s something to consider if you want to try out a tortoise table style enclosure down the road too.

Now, with what I said about how they all grow at different rates. I have a friend who I met on here that also has a Hermann’s…turns out from the same breeder and hers is 3 months younger than mine. My tortoise today is around 600 grams, while hers is not even at 200 grams yet, so big size difference. She has her little tortoise in a 6ft x 4ft enclosure and he uses all of it too.

Here’s a thread I made about the new enclosure if you’d like to see it for some ideas.


If you have any other questions or things you‘re unsure about, don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂
 

LeahK

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
78
Location (City and/or State)
Berkeley CA
Hello! It’s great that you’re doing all of this research before you bring your tortoise home. Not too many plan ahead, so you’re very wise to do so. I don’t know that anyone can give you a clear cut answer on how long to transition to an adult sized enclosure. The reason for this is because they all grow at different rates. I have a Hermann’s tortoise who turned 2 in May, but I got him when he was 3 months old and weighed under 30 grams. I started him in in 36x18x18 ExoTerra and in less than a year I was on the hunt for a new enclosure. He grew quite quickly…or at least quicker than I expected, so I wish I had gone bigger right away and just sectioned off part of the enclosure until he needed it. At around 20 months old is when I moved my tortoise into his current home which is about 7ft by 4ft, and he uses every bit of it. I’m already trying to think of ways to give him even more space in another year or so, and he’s only been in the new enclosure for about 5 months. Closed chamber or ”tortoise table” I think depends on the environment you have to house him in. I think in a lot of situations a closed chamber is probably better, but I went with a tortoise table style of enclosure. It works for me because I have his enclosure in a small bedroom on the 2nd floor of my house (hot air rises) and I find it very easy to maintain proper temps and humidity in that bedroom. If you’re going to have the enclosure in a main living space in your house or in a bedroom that is also occupied by a human, then I think 100% a closed chamber is the way to go. I had my enclosure built with tall enough walls so that if I want to fully enclose it in the future it will be easy to do so. This way if my circumstances change and I can’t regulate the temp and humidity, I can just close it up and it won’t be a big deal. That’s something to consider if you want to try out a tortoise table style enclosure down the road too.

Now, with what I said about how they all grow at different rates. I have a friend who I met on here that also has a Hermann’s…turns out from the same breeder and hers is 3 months younger than mine. My tortoise today is around 600 grams, while hers is not even at 200 grams yet, so big size difference. She has her little tortoise in a 6ft x 4ft enclosure and he uses all of it too.

Here’s a thread I made about the new enclosure if you’d like to see it for some ideas.


If you have any other questions or things you‘re unsure about, don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂


This is really helpful, thank you for sharing your experience!
 

LeahK

Active Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
78
Location (City and/or State)
Berkeley CA
A savvy shopper would get the adult-sized enclosure and use dividers to size it down if they felt there was too much space for a single youngster.

Good point! I was trying to see if a well-regulated adult-sized enclosure would be needed, and it seems like it will be. Might as well set it up now!
 

Beasty_Artemis

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
614
Location (City and/or State)
Oregon Coast
Yeah, most enclosures that you see online for hatchlings will lose their flair pretty fast. You can tell once an enclosure has gotten too small when the tortoise paces the walls incessantly.
 
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