My tortoise pen idea...... Suggestions?

ben32hayt

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I have been recently thinking about making a new tortoise pen because my current one is an eye soar. The idea I have in my head now is a dugout with the interior edges made of stacked slate. I am thinking I would have the pit dug down about 2'-3' underground and have the slate come up about 8"-12". I am currently unsure of dimensions but I will calculate the dimensions on Monday when I arrive home from my vacation. Now here is the main issue, I have an abundance of raccoons on my property and I need to make sure the enclosure is "raccoon proof." The idea I had in my head was making a chicken-wire screen to protect the tortoises from the raccoon. I also need to split the enclosure into thirds or even fourths with slate or a different rock. I need the rock all to match because I plan on keeping this tortoise pen for a significant amount of time and I don't want it to be an eye soar. I forgot to mention that I will most likely be hiring a masonry contractor for the construction of the tortoise pen because he has done the majority of the projects in my yard and I trust him greatly. I will upload a picture of my yard and some of the stones I have in the yard. My biggest concern now is making the tortoise pen raccoon proof but at the same time attractive. I would like to hear everyones suggestions on the tortoise pen I have brewing in my mind. I will also draw a sketch of the area I plan on making the tortoise pen and I will scan it and upload that as a file.

Do not be shy to share your thoughts on the tortoise pen. I would like to know what plants, decorations, ect. people use in their enclosures. If anyone would like to share their outdoor enclosures with me I would be more than happy to take a look at them!

Thanks, Ben
 
M

Maggie Cummings

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I also have raccoons and don't think chicken wire will keep them out. You'll need a stronger wire than that...
 

ben32hayt

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I also have raccoons and don't think chicken wire will keep them out. You'll need a stronger wire than that...

How do you keep the coons out? I use a lock system currently but I don't want to keep using it because its UGLY. I keep the raccoons out of my trashcan by electrifying the base of it. There is no chance I will do that with my tortoises though.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I bring all my animals in at night and close and lock Bob's shed. The rest of the guys have containers in the house, 'cept Queenie, she has a tort table in Bob's shed...sorry I really can't help more than that...
 

Yvonne G

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You can put a hot wire on the outside of the pen. Its pretty hard to build something that is raccoon proof. They're very smart and ingenious little devils. If you run a hot wire along the top of the fence, you have to have enough space between the wire and the fence so that if the 'coon pushes down on the wire it doesn't touch the fence. As soon as it touches, it grounds it and is no longer shocking.

Or you can just bring the tortoises in every night.

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ben32hayt

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This is the space I am building the tortoise pen in. As you can see the current one is small and is an eyesore. I will post pictures of the rest of the yard later so you can help me decide how to make the pen match the yard. ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404660000.877537.jpg
 

ben32hayt

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Here is the yard.... This is a lifelong family project and it is necessary that everything must match the scenery. As you can see we use a lot of slate in the yard and everything has a naturalistic look. Sooner or later we are going to add a second pond where the blacktop is.... but that is off topic. If you have any other yard suggestions for me please tell me!

Deck view:
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404660414.493666.jpg

Deck view 2:
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404660455.147060.jpg

Stream View:
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404660566.571412.jpg

Pond View:
ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404660610.510263.jpg

I am thinking about starting of the pond and yard... I have some interesting plants in the yard that I though I should share.
 

Amanda81

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Since the raccoons are already coming in and are a threat perhaps u could build they something so they just don't bother your enclosure. Make them a feeding station away from your enclosure. They should pick and easy meal over one they have to work for. U can also pick up some spray that's suppose to keep wild animals away. I have never used it myself so I don't honestly know how well it does but it's worth a try.
 

Jacqui

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What I would do is starting right now is to make sure the coons do not like your yard. Put a hot wire system up on the outside of your yard (then once you make the tortoise enclosure make another system). Even having a second line of barrier hot wire near the outside is great. Do not put out any food any where in your yard for them. You want them to believe there are no goodies any where near and only pain for them. Once they know you have a food item, then they will come back often for it. Plus once they get into that mindset they are dang hard (read in nearly impossible) to convince them to not come back. They are smart, clever, agile and stubborn animals.

Chicken wire is really not strong enough to keep anything that really wants in from getting in. I would go with a finer heavier mesh wire.

Another misconception is that the coons will only be out there at dark hours. This is from my own experience, coons can come out at any time. Yes, late and very early hours are their "prime" times. I had a coon I believe it was two weeks ago checking out a catfood feeding station at a little after 8 am. When the coons and I were fighting over the chickens a few years back, they would start coming in to get them in the early evening hours before the sun would be going down.
 

ben32hayt

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Thanks for the advice the issue I have is that they already go after the garbage can so I electrified it. Now they wait for the day the electrical current is not on and they go for the trash then. The only thing the raccoon can get from my yard is the trash. Can I trap the raccoon and move it, will it come back? I will try hot wiring the yard in some places but I am worried my dogs may get shocked.
 

Amanda81

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We have a horrible issue w raccoons, horrible. They come and they were messing w my chickens and pigeons. And because I have dogs I couldn't use an animal repellant and I don't think an electric fence will look to good nor will it b very natural as u want your yard to look. What we did, and from the gorgeous pics u posted, it should b easily hide is actually make a spot right on your property line where they can come get what they are after and leave. I am honestly shocked you haven't had fish disappear. Of course u wouldn't so this if they wasn't already a problem but like u said, their already visiting your property and yea once they show up, it's hard to get them gone. You can encourage them to stay away from things like garbage, your pond, and other things that look like a meal if they have a meal just laying there waiting. Just speaking from experience. Yes u could live trap them and take them many many MANY miles away and release them. I did this the first couple years I lived in my current home. What I found was I just had more show up. So I finally decided if I was going to have to have them I would try and keep them in one area where they wasn't hurting anything. It's really not that bad now. My koi aren't disappearing anymore, my chickens and pigeons are all happy and ok, I more or less now have pet raccoons I can enjoy from a far as well. Plus I can throw my scrapes and cooking grease out and they consume it, instead of putting it in garbage and it stinking or leaking everywhere. By the way your yard is just beautiful.
 

Jacqui

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I am a big sayer of "NO!" don't you dare trap that animal. Where do you plan to release him? I live in the country with wild coons and do not need you to bring me your problem (just as I won't bring you my problem animals... deal?) The thing is your animal would be an outsider here and thus beat up by the current critters. If you live in the city and it sounds like you might, you (not meaning you personally) have taught them to raid garbage cans to eat, thus they may not be able to fend for themselves. I guess I am reminded of the tale of the city mouse and the country mouse, each has it's own place and knows how to survive in such a place. We have traps, hunters, and even a lot of coon hunters is that the fate you want for this animal? Why not just kill it and end all it's possible suffering?

As for your dog getting shocked, it won't really hurt him and once or twice getting a shock the normal dog will learn to stay away from the fenced area.
 

Amanda81

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Dogs can smell the current coming off a fence like that and usually will stay away from it. Sometimes them not paying attention will get them "bite" but it usually only takes a time or two and they pay attention after that. I too live in the country and when I was relocating trapped ones it was a major pain. They are vicious in the live traps. And they can get their little hands through the cage. Plus u have to get the door to cage open without being to close when u do release them, that's a magic trick in itself. And yes u do have to find an area where u wouldn't b putting it right back on someone else. Plus if it's female u need to check make sure she don't have little ones your leaving behind. Live trapping and relocating isn't the easiest thing.
 

Amanda81

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Here is the yard.... This is a lifelong family project and it is necessary that everything must match the scenery. As you can see we use a lot of slate in the yard and everything has a naturalistic look. Sooner or later we are going to add a second pond where the blacktop is.... but that is off topic. If you have any other yard suggestions for me please tell me!

Deck view:
View attachment 86304

Deck view 2:
View attachment 86305

Stream View:
View attachment 86306

Pond View:
View attachment 86307

I am thinking about starting of the pond and yard... I have some interesting plants in the yard that I though I should share.
I'm not sure if they would b exactly the same but I seen at lowes last week some great stones. The stackable kind. They would be easy to do and would look very natural in your landscape. I have seen other tortoise enclosures made out of them. Depending on how big your tortoise is. I personally like the Japanese/oriental look and have my landscape done in that manner and I use the large pallets of what we call river rock to do a lot of stuff in. I surrounded my koi pond w them and then planted ivy in the rock to soften the look. Very natural looking. And u can get rounded or the flat kind. I did a retainer wall with the flat ones, wanting the "dry stack" look I only put cement on the back 2/3 of the rock so it's very stable and cemented together but looking at it, it looks as tho the rock is just stacked there. I am seriously thinking about using this same technique for my outdoor tortoise enclosure, I do plan on selling my home in the next yearly two, so I have to b careful what I do because of resale value but when I get ready to sale I can always convert it to a planter, slap a Japanese maple and some grasses in it and it will look like that's what it always was for.
 
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