New Russian Outdoor Enclosure Questions.

TriciaStringer

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We are getting an unexpected blessing on Tuesday, a Russian tortoise! He is an adult. We found out tonight and started on his 4x8 outdoor enclosure. We are attaching welded wire to the bottom, adding six inches of digging dirt for him and then adding more height to his enclosure and putting a top with welded wire on top to protect him from predators. I’m placing it half under a very shady tree and the other half in full sun. Flower pots will be in it for cool hiding spots. I have some seeds for tortoises ready to plant. Question, what type of dirt should I put in it for his substrate? I need to get a lot done tomorrow.
 

ethan508

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The biggest thing is to avoid soils with chemical fertilizers and pesticides or soils heavily enriched with lots of manure, guano, or other high nitrogen materials. A basic topsoil or garden soil without amendments will do. Buying bulk rather than buy the bag will be cheaper and easier to find a good soil. Do not buy/use sand. You could also use the native soil in your yard if it is at all decent and has not been treated with pesticides for a year or so.
 

DARKFIRE007

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Organic top soil...in bulk if possible. You can also use stones as a divider and use another substrate like Cypress mulch to give him options.

The setup sounds fine, escape and predator proof. Don't forget a couple good hides.
 

TriciaStringer

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Organic top soil...in bulk if possible. You can also use stones as a divider and use another substrate like Cypress mulch to give him options.

The setup sounds fine, escape and predator proof. Don't forget a couple good hides.
Thanks. I went with organic soil mixed with cypress mulch. He explored all day today.
 

TriciaStringer

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Here are some pictures. I got a message on Sunday night that we were chosen to be Pepe's new family. He was due to arrive on Tuesday but it was changed to Wednesday. Thank goodness! We had NOTHING started yet. We went out at 7:00 Sunday night and got started. Here is his new home. We have a lid with welded wire on the top and we also attached the wire to the bottom to keep him in. He has four hides and I saw him enjoy every one of them today. He is such a joy to watch. He is very active and just climbs over everything. I put extra dirt and mulch on one side of it for him to dig if he would like. He does dig in when he is ready to go to sleep at night. I put potted herbs in for shade and due to the very short preparation time, the broad leaf seed mix has sprouted but not ready to add to his enclosure. I planted two rectangular containers that I will swap out to let one recover while he munches on the next. I also have planted some flower seeds. I'm still waiting on my hibiscus seeds in the mail. The herbs are mostly for shade. They are all safe to eat, but not normally very yummy to a tortoise. I have seen him laying under the spearmint, enjoying the shade. I had to remove an aloe plant because he was trampling it to death. He started eating better today. Yesterday he took a little bit of an eating hiatus. He was just adjusting. I've seen him drinking a few times. I found a new section of dandelion greens in my yard today and gave him those with some collards, opuntia, and zucchini. i added a little Romaine and kale just to entice him. He did a good bit of eating. His previous owner said he loved kale. I'll give him a little here and there. He was a very loved family pet and we will continue to shower him with love in our family. I'm giving him a couple weeks to adjust before trimming his beak. His previous owner brought along one of his hides and his half log. He does use his stone hide often and he loooooooves his log, if you know what I mean.
 

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TriciaStringer

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Due to the quickness, we made his enclosure 4x8. We will cut a doorway in it and add on. His heated winter house will be in the new section.
 
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