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Help with Redfoot enclosure

Jenna G.

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
Hello from Maryland!

I am looking for some help with my new a new redfood enclosure that I am working on. Last week I decided to put my very basic carpentry skills to use and build Tank (my year old cherryhead) a new enclosure. His new enclosure is a 2 x 4 wood box. It still needs paint and has a few missing details before its completely ready. I have attached a photo. I am looking for some suggestions on what kind of plants I should use, the substrate and any other helpful hits. I should probably mention that I do not have a green thumb what so ever, however I am working on it :)

Tanks current enclosure is a 40 gal aquarium with a few hides, no plants, and the substrate is made up of a layer of potting soil and a layer of sphagnum moss mixed with cypress mulch. I notice that the substrate dries out a lot and I have a hard time regulating the humidity. I would like to improve that on the new enclosure. I think a fogger would possibly help and maybe adding a few more inched to the substrate. I look forward to reading your suggestions and thank you in advance for your help! You guys are always so helpful!

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crimson_lotus

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Messages
1,039
Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
I would recommend closing the top with something to keep the humidity in. I've used tin foil and shower curtains before if you're looking for cheap.

I use coco coir for substrate because it doesnt attract bugs, it retains water well, tortoises can eat it and pass it with no issues, and it doesn't mold. I pour warm water into the corners of the enclosure every week or so to keep the substrate from dryin out. There is nothing wrong with cypress mulch/sphagnum moss, or potting soil (as long as it's not treated!)

I would also recommend lining the bottom with pond liner or a shower curtain to prevent the wood from molding, unless you will be using a non toxic water resistant seal on the wood.

Unfortunately I am still unable to find plants that my tortoise will not trample/eat/utterly destroy...or anything that can live in a closed chamber environment, for that matter. The roots seem to rot out on a lot of plants. What SEEMED to have been working before she ate them to the ground was pothos and spider plants. I've taken out sedge, pansies, hosta, wandering jew, christmas cactus, african violets, coleus...

What I have not tried are bromeliads, which are from their native environment and seem to do well in their temp/humidity requirements.
 

leigti

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5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
What if you put some of the plants in pots. Then she can just eat the parts that are hanging down. I grew spider plants, Pothos, and draceana in my box turtle enclosure and they went crazy. Granted, my Boxturtle didn't try to eat them. But they grew really well, too well in fact.
 

leigti

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
7,030
Location (City and/or State)
southeast Washington
It is more expensive but you could use plexiglass to cover the top except for directly under the lights and heat lamp.
 

Jenna G.

New Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
17
Location (City and/or State)
Maryland
I would recommend closing the top with something to keep the humidity in. I've used tin foil and shower curtains before if you're looking for cheap.

I use coco coir for substrate because it doesnt attract bugs, it retains water well, tortoises can eat it and pass it with no issues, and it doesn't mold. I pour warm water into the corners of the enclosure every week or so to keep the substrate from dryin out. There is nothing wrong with cypress mulch/sphagnum moss, or potting soil (as long as it's not treated!)

I would also recommend lining the bottom with pond liner or a shower curtain to prevent the wood from molding, unless you will be using a non toxic water resistant seal on the wood.

Unfortunately I am still unable to find plants that my tortoise will not trample/eat/utterly destroy...or anything that can live in a closed chamber environment, for that matter. The roots seem to rot out on a lot of plants. What SEEMED to have been working before she ate them to the ground was pothos and spider plants. I've taken out sedge, pansies, hosta, wandering jew, christmas cactus, african violets, coleus...

What I have not tried are bromeliads, which are from their native environment and seem to do well in their temp/humidity requirements.
Thanks! Yes, I plan to use a pond liner for the bottom of the inside. It seems like a lot of people recommend the coco coir, maybe I will give that a try.
 

lisa127

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5 Year Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
4,324
Location (City and/or State)
NE Ohio
I cover all tops with heavy duty clear shower curtains. Holds in humidity perfectly.
 

crimson_lotus

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Messages
1,039
Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
What if you put some of the plants in pots. Then she can just eat the parts that are hanging down. I grew spider plants, Pothos, and draceana in my box turtle enclosure and they went crazy. Granted, my Boxturtle didn't try to eat them. But they grew really well, too well in fact.
They actually WERE in pots, but my crazy tortoise liked to climb and knock them all down! I'd come home from work with the roots pulled out of the pot, the plant eaten, and spilled soil all over the place. She even burrows into the knocked over pot, to top it all off. I need to build her a bigger enclosure and maybe buy some ridiculously large/tall/heavy pots.
 

crimson_lotus

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2013
Messages
1,039
Location (City and/or State)
Massachusetts
I don't recommend the plexiglass unless you're getting a thick piece. I had some cut about 1/4 of an inch and the plexiglass began to curl on the corners, creating air gaps in the enclosure. I had to build a wooden frame to keep the plexi from curling.
 

Karen Covill

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2017
Messages
52
Location (City and/or State)
South Carolina
I would like to build my red foot tortoises an outdoor enclosure. Does anyone have any pix or descriptions of one that I can "borrow?" I'm thinking 8' x 8' area using cinder block walls and perhaps dog wire or chicken wire over the top. I will include a little pond that is slanted so they can come and go if they choose. What do I put on the bottom/floor? Do I leave it natural with grass/dirt/leaves, or do I lay a tarp and use coir? Any help is very much appreciated. The torts are about a year and a half old. Oh, I also plan to have a large hide or them. They will still have their inside pen (4' x 4') for nights and/or cold weather. Thanks
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
4,028
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
I would like to build my red foot tortoises an outdoor enclosure. Does anyone have any pix or descriptions of one that I can "borrow?" I'm thinking 8' x 8' area using cinder block walls and perhaps dog wire or chicken wire over the top. I will include a little pond that is slanted so they can come and go if they choose. What do I put on the bottom/floor? Do I leave it natural with grass/dirt/leaves, or do I lay a tarp and use coir? Any help is very much appreciated. The torts are about a year and a half old. Oh, I also plan to have a large hide or them. They will still have their inside pen (4' x 4') for nights and/or cold weather. Thanks
For my outdoor enclosure I used Cypress mulch in some parts and just the dirt/ground in others. I've never had any issues with mine digging. I used the broad leaf Testudo seed mix to plant it. Also I think you'd be better with wood barriers rather than cinder blocks. The cinder blocks are rough and give them traction to climb easier. Wood worked better for me.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
4,028
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
I would like to build my red foot tortoises an outdoor enclosure. Does anyone have any pix or descriptions of one that I can "borrow?" I'm thinking 8' x 8' area using cinder block walls and perhaps dog wire or chicken wire over the top. I will include a little pond that is slanted so they can come and go if they choose. What do I put on the bottom/floor? Do I leave it natural with grass/dirt/leaves, or do I lay a tarp and use coir? Any help is very much appreciated. The torts are about a year and a half old. Oh, I also plan to have a large hide or them. They will still have their inside pen (4' x 4') for nights and/or cold weather. Thanks
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