Hermanns outside enclosure in Scotland


New Member
Jul 28, 2021
Location (City and/or State)
Hi everyone, looking for some advice on building an outside enclosure for my Hermanns tort. On reading many a thread I have decided the most popular substrate to use is organic top soil with equal parts of play sand. I will also make a bit in it with plants to eat and shelter under and also pots and hides etc. My main question is about a wee house that he can go in to bask etc. As I live in the Highlands of Scotland the weather has a mind of its own. What are the recommendations for heat/light in an outside house. Any advice will be welcome :)


Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Jul 8, 2017
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Hi! Welcome to the forum!

Actually, we do not recommend either topsoil or sand in any tort's enclosure. Even if the tort doesn't intentionally eat it, enough gets stuck to the greens and ingested to be dangerous. It doesn't take much dirt and sand to thoroughly stop up the pipes of a tort. 💩 Instead, look for fine grade orchid bark. You might be able to order it online from Amazon or Swell Reptile, or buy it in bags at big box pet stores. It would probably be called Reptibark.

How big is he? Will you bring him inside for winter in the house? You could also build a heated night box for cold rainy weather if he doesn't brumate for the winter.
Here are the plans for a one door and a two door variation.

List of supplies:

An expanded drawing of the box:

Usually a basking bulb isn't needed in an outdoor enclosure. The sunshine should provide plenty in warm weather. It only takes an hour or two twice a week to supply all the UVB he will need to carry him through the cold and rainy days.

Often a RHP (radiant heat panel) and a Kane mat, connected to a digital thermostat, work very well to heat the night box for chilly and wet periods.

Lyn W

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Jul 22, 2014
Location (City and/or State)
Hi and welcome,
How long have you had your tort and how old is he?

This is the caresheet you need for your tort which is full of up to date advice.

You may also find this helpful
Our climate is so varied and unpredictable he will need some sort of heated house if you are planning on leaving him out for any length of time, but this isn't recommended for young torts.

Do you plan to hibernate him over winter? That isn't without risk but there are threads about doing it properly and fridges are often used to make sure the temps are kept stable so that they don't wake up too soon.