Indoor and Outdoor Enclosure Advice for Newish Russian Tortoise Owner


New Member
Location (City and/or State)
New Orleans
Hi there,

My mother's 12 year old Russian Tortoise will be leaving the midwest cold to join me in New Orleans soon so that I can provide her more attention and outdoor time in NOLA's subtropical climate. A couple questions I have...

1) Her current indoor enclosure, which I would like to replace with a larger one, measures 39.6" W x 22.5" D x 11.25" H. Can someone recommend where to purchase large indoor enclosures? I'd prefer to not construct one myself and have had difficulty finding larger sizes online. The room she will be in can accommodate a max 7ft x 5ft enclosure.

2) With a new indoor enclosure I'd like to move the old indoor enclosure outdoors. I've read that the dimensions for outdoor enclosures should be at minimum 4ft x 4ft, however I'm working with a small porch space. If the tortoise is only being kept outside 1-3 hrs a day will the 39.6" W x 22.5" sized enclosure be OK? Also, the porch area is elevated 5ft from the ground where it receives lots of direct sunlight. Any reason why this would be bad for her?

Thanks! I look forward to hearing from some of you.


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

The minimum recommended size for an indoor enclosure is 8ft x 4ft. Russians in particular need lots of space to walk so they can digest their food. With that said, if you can fit a 7'x5' enclosure into your room, then that's what you should do. There are no large enclosures for sale, and especially with somewhat odd dimensions. If you don't know someone who could build it for you, ask around. Network for somebody who does carpentry on the side or as a hobby. If you find someone who is knowledgeable, he could build a 2nd floor for the enclosure. Torts climb ramps readily, and it would give more space for walking. Here's a pic of what I mean.
20200807_194219.jpg 20200807_194236.jpg
I put this in for fun, but it's something to consider. :D

The outside enclosure is basically the same thing, except the size is "the bigger the better". But of course you have to work with what you have. If you can't put the tortoise on the ground in a safe, secure, large enclosure, the porch will have to do. Enlarge the old enclosure to the biggest it can be on the porch. You asked about direct sun...that's OK, as long as the tortoise can always get out of the sun and into shade. Torts can overheat very quickly with dire results. Good shade availability is crucial.

Most Russians are very active. If they decide that their enclosure is too small and cramped, it leads to incessantly scratching and clawing the walls to get out. Russians are also escape artists, so put those two together and you see the need for the largest areas possible. Even if he's been living in the small enclosure for 12 years, it doesn't mean he'll be happy in it in NOLA. Moving to a new home is stressful on him. It might take him a while, maybe up to a month, to settle in and feel safe.


Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Crazy Train
I keep tortoises and box turtles. My tortoises are in an outside tort shed/w doggie doors, they go in and out on their own.
But my turtles are kept in tort tables in the house, and on days that they can go outside, I have outside pens for them, so on proper days, I take them out, they are in an outside pen all day, then they are brought in and put in their tort tables at night. They are not left outside because of critters. I have 15 box turtles. So if I were in your case, I would make a safe,escape proof outside pen as his main habitat, and use the indoor table for nighttime and bad weather days. Bring him out and in daily. Photos to follow