My Two Desert Tortoises Being Kept Together

Tanyabobanya

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I've never had any luck re-purposing stuff like book cases. Its much easier and much better to just buy the plywood and 2x3s and build what you need in my experience. Most book shelves these days are built very flimsy and use particle board which sucks up water like a sponge and disintegrates.

For $400 you can buy 4 sheets of plywood and lots of 2x4s and 2x3' to make two solid 4x8' enclosures with stands. One sheet will be the bottom and the other sheet can be cut into 12" high walls.


Not to debate or argue, but I did finally buy 2 used solid wood bookshelves and lined the bottom with pond liner for my 2 desert tortoises. I was asking a friend to help me build something and he fell through. They are working for a nighttime enclosure, though I could probably leave them outside overnight because it’s been so hot out. Outside they are together in an enclosure where I added a wall to separate that leaves a space for them to get through. Maybe I should completely walk them off from each other. They are female (I’ve been told) siblings I’ve had since eggs. They are about 3 years old and growing so big I’m wondering if my counting age is off. Could I be overfeeding? The soil I’m using is so pure, I was worried about fertilizers, that plants, lettuce etc won’t grow so I’m buying stuff from organic store. Walking them off would give hem less space so maybe I should look for another space in our yard. I have seen one flip the other over. They sleep together sometimes. Thanks and good luck with yours!

BA1F86B2-57E5-4283-8B4A-32E89259ABB6.jpeg
 

Tanyabobanya

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ps. One of the photos here shows I end of my tortoises in the outdoor enclosure climbing the wall which concerns me. They will do this and it looks like they are trying to find a way out. The other photos are indoor and outdoor enclosure. A morning yawn..
 

Tom

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Not to debate or argue, but I did finally buy 2 used solid wood bookshelves and lined the bottom with pond liner for my 2 desert tortoises. I was asking a friend to help me build something and he fell through. They are working for a nighttime enclosure, though I could probably leave them outside overnight because it’s been so hot out. Outside they are together in an enclosure where I added a wall to separate that leaves a space for them to get through. Maybe I should completely walk them off from each other. They are female (I’ve been told) siblings I’ve had since eggs. They are about 3 years old and growing so big I’m wondering if my counting age is off. Could I be overfeeding? The soil I’m using is so pure, I was worried about fertilizers, that plants, lettuce etc won’t grow so I’m buying stuff from organic store. Walking them off would give hem less space so maybe I should look for another space in our yard. I have seen one flip the other over. They sleep together sometimes. Thanks and good luck with yours!

You should definitely separate them. Pairs just don't work, and DTs are one of the worst for this.

Do your tortoise have underground retreats? They should. Many ways to do this.

More space is definitely a good thing.
 

Tom

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ps. One of the photos here shows I end of my tortoises in the outdoor enclosure climbing the wall which concerns me. They will do this and it looks like they are trying to find a way out. The other photos are indoor and outdoor enclosure. A morning yawn..
Pics didn't show up.
 

Tanyabobanya

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ED85A485-60F5-4732-A8E4-3BAE691B544C.jpeg
Pics didn't show up.
Darn. Maybe they’re too big. I’ll try again.
This should be their outdoor enclosure. I made 2 boxes with ramps and lids and heating mats they can climb into. They’ve dug deep holes under each ramp. I worry about brown widow spiders so I bring them inside at night, give them baths. Some people say I’m worrying too much about it but I can’t help it.ill see about dividing the enclosure or building another one somewhere in the yard. One thing I would do differently is making the lids which have chicken wire with something stronger and at an angle so when it rains I can cover and the rain doesn’t turn it into a swamp.
 

Tom

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View attachment 246208
Darn. Maybe they’re too big. I’ll try again.
This should be their outdoor enclosure. I made 2 boxes with ramps and lids and heating mats they can climb into. They’ve dug deep holes under each ramp. I worry about brown widow spiders so I bring them inside at night, give them baths. Some people say I’m worrying too much about it but I can’t help it.ill see about dividing the enclosure or building another one somewhere in the yard. One thing I would do differently is making the lids which have chicken wire with something stronger and at an angle so when it rains I can cover and the rain doesn’t turn it into a swamp.
That looks nice. Bringing them in at night and soaking them is a good thing.

You don't have to worry about spiders. You can clean them out at night with a broom or something if you are worried about them. My whole ranch is crawling with black widows and wolf spiders and I've never had a single problem.

Good call on the lids. I learn new things every time I build an enclosure. 1x2" welded wire is a good sturdy size and thickness for outdoor covers. That is what I use for all my stuff.

I like my tortoise to have a place to get underground and out of the heat. Here is how I did it with russians, which have similar housing requirements to DTs:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/semi-underground-russian-box.98590/#post-922226
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/heating-an-outdoor-russian-night-box.116180/#post-1077261
 

Tanyabobanya

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DBFDD9CE-811D-424B-BDB9-DB4FF1B0852A.jpeg I put a solar fountain with big enough (not
for long) bowl for them to drink out of or get into. But the photo isn’t uploading so here’s a yawn. I can’t add a photo of both of them it seems just one at a time ..
 

Tanyabobanya

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That looks nice. Bringing them in at night and soaking them is a good thing.

You don't have to worry about spiders. You can clean them out at night with a broom or something if you are worried about them. My whole ranch is crawling with black widows and wolf spiders and I've never had a single problem.

Good call on the lids. I learn new things every time I build an enclosure. 1x2" welded wire is a good sturdy size and thickness for outdoor covers. That is what I use for all my stuff.

I like my tortoise to have a place to get underground and out of the heat. Here is how I did it with russians, which have similar housing requirements to DTs:
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/semi-underground-russian-box.98590/#post-922226
https://tortoiseforum.org/threads/heating-an-outdoor-russian-night-box.116180/#post-1077261
Good to know thank you for this. And it looks like I may have uploaded the same photo 100 times. Sorry everyone. I’m on my iPhone and out of the country. Now I need to figure out another enclosure and an underground situation. I am slow at all of this so hopefully I can figure it out. Anyone living in Los Angeles who wants to help please don’t hold back!
 

TriciaStringer

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Good to know thank you for this. And it looks like I may have uploaded the same photo 100 times. Sorry everyone. I’m on my iPhone and out of the country. Now I need to figure out another enclosure and an underground situation. I am slow at all of this so hopefully I can figure it out. Anyone living in Los Angeles who wants to help please don’t hold back!
Can’t help you. I’m in Louisiana, but I did giggle quite a bit at the seven pics of your tortoise yawning. Thanks for the laugh.
I really like your outdoor enclosure.
 

Tanyabobanya

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Can’t help you. I’m in Louisiana, but I did giggle quite a bit at the seven pics of your tortoise yawning. Thanks for the laugh.
I really like your outdoor enclosure.
I meant to post one! But wanted to post different one so ones. .
 

Tanyabobanya

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wow this is good. I had mine in a tank when hey were that little like my mother did with all of the tortoises we had growing up until I learned that it was dangerous! My mom still has the parents of the ones I have. They live in her backyard with one of their full grown offspring. The parents were give to us when I was in kindergarten which was 1970 somethin 6E911FCF-BCA3-4CFC-9A28-13FAB13055FD.jpeg 86403146-A65C-4589-BF57-88D17EF893E2.jpeg B7A08DF7-5A0F-41FB-A7C0-AB3137CC14A5.jpeg !
I’ll try and post the bookshelves I have for the indoor enclosure I use at night. I want to get tables or raised ones so when people with dogs come over they aren’t sniffing around. Another question I have is- I’ve read here that they are solitary and prefer to be alone, but they are friendly with us humans. If i climb into their outdoor habitat, they climb into lap. I wish now I only had one. But there were 4 eggs and 2 hatched so here I am.
 

DesertGirl

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ps. One of the photos here shows I end of my tortoises in the outdoor enclosure climbing the wall which concerns me. They will do this and it looks like they are trying to find a way out. The other photos are indoor and outdoor enclosure. A morning yawn..

I have raised both Sonoran and Mojave torts. These dont look like either. Do you know what flavor of DT you have?
 

Yvonne G

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They're Mojave - Gopherus agassizii, DesertGirl, and beautiful specimens.

@Tanyabobanya - I wouldn't worry about separating them just yet. It looks like you may get to keep them together until they reach sexual maturity, and maybe even afterwards depending upon how they treat each other. They both look healthy and both look to be growing at the same rate. You won't really know if they're female or not for a couple more years. All tortoises look female until right before they start going through sexual maturity. Then the shell starts to change in the males.
 
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