Is it possible to build an outdoor tortoise table?

Danny Martin

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4
Hello fellow tortoise enthusiasts:
I have a fairly young sulcata tortoise living in an under-the-bed storage bin with no lid. I keep it outside (I live in south Florida) and have an emergency heat lamp for the few nights that drop below 60 in the wintertime. His box is approximately 1ft by 2.5 ft. He has lived there for the whole year that I've had him. I purchased him at Pet Supermarket about a year ago. He is about the size of the palm of my hand so I think he is too small for an outdoor pen but I don't want to keep him inside with all the healthy sunlight outside. I thought of building an outdoor tortoise table that was 3 ft by 3 ft and 2 ft tall. The legs would be a foot long and the edge barrier should be a foot tall. What is the best substrate to use for the tortoise table? What materials should I use to build my tortoise table? How do I protect the tortoise table from the rain and still let it get sunlight? Thanks.
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,059
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Tom wrote a thread a while back where he built a wooden table up on legs. It served a dual purpose - shade in the tortoise pen and then he was going to plant a garden in the table part. I don't see why you couldn't adapt it for use as a tort table. Just make sure there is shade so the baby doesn't cook in the sun.

Take a look through our Enclosure section. One of our mods, Jacqui, put together a couple threads where she posted lost of pictures by other members and shows many examples of habitats.

Welcome to the Forum, Danny.

1028762jld543t69m.gif
 

Yellow Turtle01

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2013
Messages
7,787
Location (City and/or State)
OH, USA
Yes, that would be a good idea, actually, because torts can't see out the sides.
 

Kapidolo Farms

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
5,091
Location (City and/or State)
South of Southern California, but not Mexico
WCS did this for smaller species on St Catherine's Island to prevent small rodents and ants from raiding the tortoises. Just make sure you have it so it won't flood in a downpour, and that there is plenty of cover from the sun and maybe bird predators. It's also easier on your back!
 

Danny Martin

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4
Hey guys, I've been doing some research on the enclosure and I think I know what I want. I want to use plywood for the sides (which will be 1 ft tall) and the base (which will be 2 ft by 3 ft). The legs will be 2 x 4's on each corner (which will be 1 ft tall to keep the table off the ground. I will make a hinged lid made of chicken wire and a plywood frame. As for drainage I want to drill small holes and cover them with a piece of window screening to keep the substrate from washing out. Now since I'm talking about substrate, I've been looking online and seen a lot of conflicting information. When I first purchased my tortoise, I had him in reptibark and he developed a Respitory infection (bubbles on the nose) and the vet told me to use paper towels and change them out weekly and that's what I've been doing. Now I want something natural looking, cheap, easy to clean, and healthy for my tortoise. Right now, all I have in his current cage is a food dish, water dish, and a half log hide (from Petco). Do I need anything else? Let me know since my new tort table will have much more space. I was also thinking of planting a few plants in there, which would be the best? Thanks!!
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
89,059
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
Rather than a respiratory infection, your tortoise was probably 'allergic' to the repti-bark. If you use something you can keep moist (keeps the dust down), you shouldn't have that trouble with your tortoise again. I like fir bark. I buy it sold as Orchid Bark. Orchids are pretty sensitive, and need a real pure growing medium, so Orchid Bark is free of additives, etc. I buy the 'fine' or 'small' grade bark. I keep it moist and stir it up weekly when I add more water to it. Over time it breaks down. I have plants growing in my baby enclosures, right in the bark.

Most everyone on here likes coco coir either plain or mixed with dirt. You can grow plants in it too. I don't like it because it gets stuck on everything including the tortoise.

Its really up to you and what works best for what you're trying to achieve. Try them both - but don't use pine or cedar or sand.

474158gy04azrh2x.gif
 

Danny Martin

New Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
4
Thanks Yvonne G!! I am still a little confused on what to use as a substrate. I'm not sure what would be the best and most cost effective for my tortoise table. Since I live in south Florida, do I need a humid hide? What plants would be best for my tortoise table? Thanks so much!
 
TortoiseSupply.com

New Posts

Top