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Minimum allowed sizes for tortoise housing?

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Akuma, Dec 21, 2013.

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  1. Akuma

    Akuma New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hey ya.

    I've had my tortoise Peter - The Pancake Tortoisefor many years now.

    Several years ago I moved Peter into a massive glass terrarium which he has been enjoying. Now I moved to a smaller apartement and I don't have the space for that massive terrarium here. I need to purchase a smaller enclosure for him/build a new one.

    So my question is - what are the minimum allowed sizes for terrarium?
    What are the MINIMUM allowed size (WxHxD) (cm) and what are the RECOMMENDED measurements according to your opinion?

    Peter is an adult male tortoise, about 15 cm long.
    He has 2 sunlamps, one nightlamp and two overhead UV-lamps.

    He currently lives at my parents house and I do miss him terribly :(
  2. lkwagner

    lkwagner Member 5 Year Member

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    I don't think any glass tank would be big enough for any adult tortoise. Downgrading would be unfair
  3. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Hi Marty:

    I don't keep pancakes, and know nothing about them, but it seems to me that if you have a big enough tub that you can provide several different climbing/hiding places, it would be big enough for the tortoise. You might even think about buying two tubs, cut out opposing ends and put them together. You can do it in a corner in an "L" shape for more space but take up less room. In my opinion, if you provide him with different places to climb and inspect, it will take his mind off the fact that he's been downsized.
  4. Akuma

    Akuma New Member 5 Year Member

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    That has to probably be the most unhelpful and useless answer I've ever recieved in this forum (been here since 2009)
  5. Team Gomberg

    Team Gomberg IXOYE 5 Year Member

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    Yvonne gave you a good idea. Also, have you considered stacking upward? If you stack two enclosures connected by a ramp, Peter will have more floor space without taking up more of yours.
  6. sibi

    sibi Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    That's a great idea Heather. Do you know of any member who has done this? I'd love to see what it looks like. Theoretically, that would be the best solution! Btw, how do I access your live webcam? I can't get it with what is posted.
  7. Tom

    Tom The Dog Trainer 5 Year Member Platinum Tortoise Club

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    Akuma, there is no set standard. Everyone will view this differently with their own experiences and biases.

    Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable keeping an adult pancake anything less than about 90x180cm. That does not mean they will suddenly drop dead in something smaller, but I like them to have room to move around a bit more than some people.

    I also wouldn't want to downsize, and I would want to keep my animal in the same enclosure during a move to reduce stress at the new place.

    I know that your question is "What is the minimum size...", but my answer is find another solution.
  8. FLINTUS

    FLINTUS Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I would say you could probably keep him in a 6 by 2ft, as long as you offer vertical space with rocks and stuff as they do climb.
  9. Akuma

    Akuma New Member 5 Year Member

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    As much as I enjoy the thought of doing a vertical terrarium for Peter I will not ever be able to gather the material nor do I posess the carpeting skills; nor the tools to do such a thing.

    The options I've rather have is a normal sized terrarium since then I wouldn't have to re-buy and re-fit lamps and UV-lights fixtures. - They're real bloody expensive already!

    I found a table made by the Swedish Board of Agriculture.:
    [​IMG]

    First column is tortoise length (in centimeters)
    Second column is minimum allowed tortoise enclosure area (in square meters)
    Third column is minimum allowed area per tortoise if several are sharing the same housing
    Last column is minimum allowed heigh of enclosure

    Not sure if you all agree on the minimum allowed areas, but it is the official numbers by the board of agriculture here.

    Peter is about 15 cm so minimum is 0.3 m² and the terrariums I'm looking at right now are about 0.4 m² which should suffice.
  10. StarSapphire22

    StarSapphire22 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Isn't 0.3 meters about a foot? So a square foot? I wouldn't keep a fish in that, let alone a tortoise. Double deckers are a great idea. I'm not handy either, but I'm having my stepdad build us our new enclosure...and I believe he and my mom are contributing some of the lumber for Christmas to lower costs for my fiance and I. Do you have a friend or family member who could help build it?

    I'd say probably 1 meter x 2 meters minimum...with a double decker that would be a great space!

    Here's my plans, if they inspire you/help at all.

    Attached Files:

  11. Akuma

    Akuma New Member 5 Year Member

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    A square foot ≠ 0.3 square meters

    I think you need to brush up on your metric! :p

    One square foot = 0.01 m²

    0.3 m² is equal to 3.3 square feet.

    Mind you also - the terrariums I'm loooking at are 0.4 m² which are 4.3 square feet

    No, and no.
    If I had I wouldn't even fanthom the thought of posting this thread in the first place. There's a reason why I am asking WHAT is the minimum allowed space for housing a tortoise. I am buying whatever terrarium I can find online that suits the viable measurements.
    Buying the glass materials would set me back around $500 USD (yes, that is how much glass/plexi costs in Sweden so don't even bother)

    That would be a terrarium larger than my king-sized bed!
    I've seen zoos host 5 meter long snakes in terrarias as large as that!

    Then again, I think you have your metric measurements completely off :p
  12. Yvonne G

    Yvonne G Old Timer TFO Admin 10 Year Member! Platinum Tortoise Club

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  13. mikeh

    mikeh Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    1meter X 2meter is bigger then king size bed?....Really? I think you may have your measurements off as well.

    0.4 meters square would be 40cm x 100cm. Your tort is 15cm long. 40cm is not even 3 times tortoises length. 100cm is not even 7times tortoise length. Very small area for the tort to have any decent roaming space indeed. Even if the measurements are different, its still a small total area for a permanent home.
  14. StarSapphire22

    StarSapphire22 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I thought a meter was about a yard...maybe I'm wrong, metric never was my strong suit. :p

    I was TRYING to suggest about 3x6 feet. :)

    I am not sure what you would need glass for, unless you wanted to cut out a viewing window on the front and or top...most enclosures are built of wood. :p

    Regardless if you absolutely cannot build, a plastic Christmas tree bin, plastic pond, cement mixing tub, etc will be your best bet. I think those will be too small as any kind of long term solution though.
  15. hunterk997

    hunterk997 Member 5 Year Member

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    I think a meter is three inches more than a yard.
  16. Cutva

    Cutva Member 5 Year Member

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    Try a large Christmas tree bin or large kiddy pool if you can find one deep enough.
  17. jaizei

    jaizei Unknown Member Moderator 5 Year Member

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    It looks like it wasn't the metric that did you in but the way you went from units² to units and back to units² .3 meters is almost a foot (.9843) so you were right about that. The error occurred when you were going back to squared units.

    .3m = .9843 ft
    (.3m)² = (.9843ft)²
    .09m² = .9688ft²
    (.09m²)/.09 = (.9688ft²)/.09
    m²= 10.7644ft²
    .3m²=.3(10.7644ft²)
    .3m² = 3.229ft²

    Or you could just use Google's calculator :p
  18. Akuma

    Akuma New Member 5 Year Member

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    I really don't see why people seem to have a thing against glass.

    Glass terrariums are a hell of a lot easier to clean - and it doesn't need to be pre-treated with varnish and/or similar chemicals to make sure the wood doesn't completely rot from moisture.

    I know that the walls are not supposed to be to see-through for the tortoise, which is why it's real easy to cover with plywood or just about anythig. Glass might be the most expensive solution - but to me it is by far the most suitable solution.

    I have yet to find a single reasonable argument why glass-terrariums are a bad idea. The fact that it is more expensive than say wood - I am willing to accept; but more than that it is all just hogwash to me.
  19. mike taylor

    mike taylor Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    I like glass tanks they're great . But the problem is that they are way to small to keep a tortoise in . As a little one it's fine but as an adult not so fine . To make a tank out of glass the size a tort would need it's just not cost effective for most of us . But if money was not a problem then we are talking about wait and safety of having to move a tank this size and wait . If you have the money and don't have a problem with the wait then I say build what you want . What you like and can afford is all up to you . I have always wanted a big glass coffee table with a rattle snake in it but my wife says hell no . Ha ha Do what makes you happy and your tortoise healthy thats my thinking .
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