Greek and Box Turtle Outdoor Enclosures (pic heavy)

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supremelysteve

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I rebuilt some of my enclosures this past winter, and now that the plants have matured a little, here's how it looks.

For the most part, our back yard is a normal one. Being at the end of a court, we have a triangular lot, giving us a wrap-around backyard. Two sides are yard and patio, with the usual trappings of suburban life. None of the people we know really understand why I like turtles and tortoises. I'm not exactly sure myself. But I do.
Here is our "normal" yard.
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Sandbox and my daughter's "Pole Bean Farm".
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Now, here are where the pens and dog kennel are.
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Near the wood fence is an underground wire fence that keeps Nation (the Alaskan Malamute) from crossing. The boards on the left slide out in case I need to go in with a wheelbarrow.
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Roof view of the pens. The Golden Greek pen wraps around the back of the dog kennel, and is more of a natural style pen. It is planted with California native plants and rocks, logs and other things I've collected from all over Northern California while hiking. Several underground drip lines water portions of it twice a week during the dry season.
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I installed two time-lapse game cameras that run off solar panels, in an effort to catch egg laying events. It has been somewhat successful, and has led me to a few nests I wouldn't have otherwise discovered, and it also records what tortoise laid the nest, and the time of nesting.
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They seem to lay all over the pen, though. I was hoping they would lay in a general area, like my box turtles do. They seem to lay all day, 11:00 to 2:00 in the spring, and earlier on hotter days. One laid in late afternoon on a cold rainy day.
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The Eastern Box Turtle pen was re-designed this past December. It contains 5 pens - 4 long pens and one triangular pen. Each pen has a pond, that drain into each other. At the bottom, it is filtered, and pumped back to the top. The black shade cloth covers the first four ponds during the summer, and rolls up during the winter.
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In the front of the pens are the hides, and the food bowls.
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The food dishes are double nested, and as long as the bottom one is filled with water, does a pretty good job so far of keeping the ants out.

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In the back just after the strawberry patches and stone walking path are the open areas for nesting.
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If you want to see the current residents of the pens, check out the links below.

Thanks for looking,
Steve
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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Beautiful setup!
Your golden Greeks eat tree leaves? Holy cow! I have offered my Russians tree leaves, but they only eat them if they are dry.
 

lynnedit

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Completely amazing. I have seen your box turtle remodel in another thread, but very nice overview of the whole set up. Great use of space.
Yeah, who knows why we like torts so much????!!!!

PS. are those grape leaves?
 

supremelysteve

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GeoTerraTestudo said:
Beautiful setup!
Your golden Greeks eat tree leaves? Holy cow! I have offered my Russians tree leaves, but they only eat them if they are dry.

Vitus vinifera, grape leaves.
I wish I had a big tree whose leaves they would eat!
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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supremelysteve said:
Vitus vinifera, grape leaves.
I wish I had a big tree whose leaves they would eat!

Ah, I see ... now that makes sense. My parents grow grapes in their backyard, too. Maybe I'll offer my Russians some as well.
 

supremelysteve

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ascott said:
I thoroughly enjoyed that walk through your yards...very cool...:D

Thanks,
I like having the pens relatively hidden; most people find it a little weird.
This way people that are actually interested in them can see it, and everyone else won't really notice it.

lynnedit said:
Yeah, who knows why we like torts so much????!!!!

I used to keep snakes, and when I got married, the snakes had to go. The turtles are best kept outside, so it works well. I like trying to provide them a proper habitat, and seeing them interact in a somewhat natural way. I also like that they are long-lived. I also like genetics and working with specific lines and colors.

GeoTerraTestudo said:
supremelysteve said:
Vitus vinifera, grape leaves.
I wish I had a big tree whose leaves they would eat!

Ah, I see ... now that makes sense. My parents grow grapes in their backyard, too. Maybe I'll offer my Russians some as well.

Grape leaves are very good for them. Mine is potted, and my daughter loves to pull off "treats" to give to each tortoise.
 

Paradon

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As I've said before in the other forum, great looking tortoises and box turtles, and your enclosure for sure first class for the them.

I'm also just like you... I like them because they are long lived. They're great. My tortoise seems to be attracting a lot of attention from the neighbors lately. they love them, too.

IF you dont' mine me asking, where are you in Modesto. I live in Salida which is practically right next to it. Do you have any tortoises for sale?
 

supremelysteve

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Paradon said:
As I've said before in the other forum, great looking tortoises and box turtles, and your enclosure for sure first class for the them.

I'm also just like you... I like them because they are long lived. They're great. My tortoise seems to be attracting a lot of attention from the neighbors lately. they love them, too.

IF you dont' mine me asking, where are you in Modesto. I live in Salida which is practically right next to it. Do you have any tortoises for sale?

Yeah, I like the idea that my original animals can be lifelong (or longer) projects. It's also a little sobering, and making sure they have a long and high quality life becomes more important.

I'm in west Modesto.

Steve
Steve
 

terryo

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Thanks for that great tour of your yard. You have perfect set ups and I already told you how much I love those ponds in the turtle garden. I wish I had a big yard like that. They other half of your yard without the tortoises and turtles is just beautiful too.
 

Baoh

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Your golden Greeks are among the most beautiful I have seen. It is especially nice to see someone working with females that show little in the way of dark markings. I can feel the temptation to return to keeping Testudo species.
 

GeoTerraTestudo

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supremelysteve said:
GeoTerraTestudo said:
supremelysteve said:
Vitus vinifera, grape leaves.
I wish I had a big tree whose leaves they would eat!

Ah, I see ... now that makes sense. My parents grow grapes in their backyard, too. Maybe I'll offer my Russians some as well.

Grape leaves are very good for them. Mine is potted, and my daughter loves to pull off "treats" to give to each tortoise.

I gave my pair of Russian tortoises some grape leaves today. The female gobbled them up like candy, but it looks like the male (who is usually the more finicky eater) did not touch them. Oh well. I'm glad the female liked them, and maybe he'll nibble on them later, too. :)
 

Pets101

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GeoTerraTestudo said:
supremelysteve said:
GeoTerraTestudo said:
supremelysteve said:
Vitus vinifera, grape leaves.
I wish I had a big tree whose leaves they would eat!

Ah, I see ... now that makes sense. My parents grow grapes in their backyard, too. Maybe I'll offer my Russians some as well.

Grape leaves are very good for them. Mine is potted, and my daughter loves to pull off "treats" to give to each tortoise.

I gave my pair of Russian tortoises some grape leaves today. The female gobbled them up like candy, but it looks like the male (who is usually the more finicky eater) did not touch them. Oh well. I'm glad the female liked them, and maybe he'll nibble on them later, too. :)

That is so awesome! This time of year grape leaves are my go to food as many of the weeds I grow are drying up in the heat. You are really doing it right! It is amazing how many grape leaves an adult greek tortoise will eat in a day.
 

Jacqui

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I really like the very natural look of the Greek enclosure... and those animals are beautiful! I like the camera idea too. Just wondering how long it is, until more of that "normal" yard gets taken over... :D
 

Redstrike

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Wow, Steve, this is an incredible setup! They're beautiful and the torts & boxies look great.
 
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