Outdoor Enclosure Design Help

AwwShucks

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Monica
Hello! I'm new and have some questions!

So it is finally time to build my tortoise the home of his dreams! No longer shall he spend his days outside closely monitored by me or in a kiddie pool of substrate. He shall be free! Sort of...

Anyways, I live in Los Angeles, and I have finally got the time to build it. I have a (approximately) 7-year-old male Hermann's tortoise, and I'm wondering first of all how large I should make the outdoor area, I don't want him to get bored. I have a pretty sizeable space picked out, here are some images. NOTE: I plan to remove all the ivy and possibly agapanthus to make my own space with appropriate plants and substrate. The area is pretty sunny, from what I can tell, so I wasn't planning on putting a heater/lamp in there. He will be coming in at night for an evening bask / bedtime, so there's no need to worry about that.

So my biggest questions are
  • Ideal dimensions? Including how tall the "walls" should be!
  • How should I go about making the lid, I have seen many flat chicken wire lids, but I have also seen some people go for a domed/roof approach?
    • I am worried about making the top because I need a way to reach him in all places of the enclosure if that makes sense, so I can take him in at night
  • Should I use a wooden garden bed/chicken coop/mini greenhouse as a starting point, and if so, can anyone recommend one?
    • Furthermore, for Hermann's, do I need to dig the walls into the ground? I've read mixed things.
  • What ground covering/substrate should I use
  • Are there any common plants I should avoid putting in (dangerous to Hermanns)
    • Any common mistakes to avoid when building these type of things?
  • Can I put in those little clovers that grow in the grass for him to eat? He also seems to like munching on our grass.
Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to get this right. Hopefully, you all can help me out. Thanks :)
 

AwwShucks

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Monica
Update: the current area is 12x6 feet, not sure how tall it should be though. I'm thinking I'll divide it into two or three sections, and each section will be latched. Is this enough space?
 

Cozmo88

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
32
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
I’m going to hang around on this thread because I’m currently in the process of building one for my Russian tortoise, and I’m also curious about a cover for it, as I’m going to be doing the same as you. Taking him in for the night so I need to be able to reach him throughout the whole enclosure :). I’d love to see people’s ideas :)
 

AwwShucks

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2020
Messages
14
Location (City and/or State)
Santa Monica
Here is an overhead view of the area I plan to make his home in. How many hours of sun per day would y'all say is adequate for a Hermann's? I want to make sure this area is sunny enough. Like I said, I plan to clear the ivy and plants and put down my own substrate, maybe on top of a tarp or something as a bottom?
 
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