Outdoor enclosure for 2.5 year old horsefield in London, UK

Chelsie83

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
1
Location (City and/or State)
London
Hi there

I am really struggling to find definitive info online so wanted to ask a number of questions to someone with more experience than me, hope that's ok?

I live in London and have a lot of fox (and cat) action in our small garden. Vinnie - our tortoise is currently indoors with a uv/heat lamp in his enclosure but I'm hoping to put him outside from next spring as I think he would benefit from more space and a more interesting home. First question - is he old enough to move outside?

Question 2 - I have been reading about cold frames - do you need uv/heat in these or in another part of the run?

Question 3 - when will he start hibernating? If not until he is much older what do I do in the winter with him, can he remain outside if he has a lamp/heat?

Question 4 - back to the foxes...my ideal would be to allow Vinnie to roam the biggest bed in the garden (with a perimeter fence to stop him escaping) and have a cold frame at one end for him to warm up in, BUT the foxes could get him (assuming that he doesnt hide well enough at night, which I've heard from my husband as a child he lost loads of tortoises to foxes in the night). I don't want to turn my small garden into a tortoise focused space and would rather avoid mesh/chicken wire everywhere. So question 4 is are foxes still a big risk?

Question 5 - assuming foxes are still a major issue is the better solution just to give him a section of the bed with an outdoor run (similar to the indoor one) that is partly outdoor and partly covered/cold frame with added heat / lamp?

As mentioned our garden is very small so we dont have loads of space.

Thanks in advance,

Chelsie
 

Krista S

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Aug 4, 2019
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881
Location (City and/or State)
Saskatchewan
Hi there

I am really struggling to find definitive info online so wanted to ask a number of questions to someone with more experience than me, hope that's ok?

I live in London and have a lot of fox (and cat) action in our small garden. Vinnie - our tortoise is currently indoors with a uv/heat lamp in his enclosure but I'm hoping to put him outside from next spring as I think he would benefit from more space and a more interesting home. First question - is he old enough to move outside?

Question 2 - I have been reading about cold frames - do you need uv/heat in these or in another part of the run?

Question 3 - when will he start hibernating? If not until he is much older what do I do in the winter with him, can he remain outside if he has a lamp/heat?

Question 4 - back to the foxes...my ideal would be to allow Vinnie to roam the biggest bed in the garden (with a perimeter fence to stop him escaping) and have a cold frame at one end for him to warm up in, BUT the foxes could get him (assuming that he doesnt hide well enough at night, which I've heard from my husband as a child he lost loads of tortoises to foxes in the night). I don't want to turn my small garden into a tortoise focused space and would rather avoid mesh/chicken wire everywhere. So question 4 is are foxes still a big risk?

Question 5 - assuming foxes are still a major issue is the better solution just to give him a section of the bed with an outdoor run (similar to the indoor one) that is partly outdoor and partly covered/cold frame with added heat / lamp?

As mentioned our garden is very small so we dont have loads of space.

Thanks in advance,

Chelsie
Hi there. I think you might find this thread written by @JoesMum really helpful. She is in the UK and explains how to keep a tortoise in cooler weather, including information on cold frames.


As for our question about is your tortoise old enough to live outside, this can’t be answered by age. My 2 year old Hermann’s is 6 1/4 inches long, but I know of another 2 year old that is less than half of that size. So we would need to know the size of your tortoise to be able to answer this question. I can’t keep my tortoise outside in my climate, so I’m not the one to give advice on that, but just wanted to mention the above. Your tortoise should have their own designated space outside. If the tortoise is on the small side, the enclosure really should have some sort of barrier to keep predators out. The tortoise should have at minimum a 4ftx8ft space to roam.
 

JoesMum

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2011
Messages
21,589
Location (City and/or State)
Kent, South East England
Hi there

I am really struggling to find definitive info online so wanted to ask a number of questions to someone with more experience than me, hope that's ok?

I live in London and have a lot of fox (and cat) action in our small garden. Vinnie - our tortoise is currently indoors with a uv/heat lamp in his enclosure but I'm hoping to put him outside from next spring as I think he would benefit from more space and a more interesting home. First question - is he old enough to move outside?

Question 2 - I have been reading about cold frames - do you need uv/heat in these or in another part of the run?

Question 3 - when will he start hibernating? If not until he is much older what do I do in the winter with him, can he remain outside if he has a lamp/heat?

Question 4 - back to the foxes...my ideal would be to allow Vinnie to roam the biggest bed in the garden (with a perimeter fence to stop him escaping) and have a cold frame at one end for him to warm up in, BUT the foxes could get him (assuming that he doesnt hide well enough at night, which I've heard from my husband as a child he lost loads of tortoises to foxes in the night). I don't want to turn my small garden into a tortoise focused space and would rather avoid mesh/chicken wire everywhere. So question 4 is are foxes still a big risk?

Question 5 - assuming foxes are still a major issue is the better solution just to give him a section of the bed with an outdoor run (similar to the indoor one) that is partly outdoor and partly covered/cold frame with added heat / lamp?

As mentioned our garden is very small so we dont have loads of space.

Thanks in advance,

Chelsie
Q1: I have foxes and cats and they have never bothered Joe

Q2: See my thread that was linked to in the earlier post

Q3: If he weighs less than 500g then he needs to come indoors and be in an indoor enclosure for the winter.

Hibernation is triggered by falling temperatures. I live in Kent. It’s currently warm enough where we and you are for your tortoise to be active, but he will be slowing down. I explain about winding Joe down for hibernation in the thread linked to earlier.

Q4: How big is Vinnie? If he’s a 3.5kg thug like Joe there’s no threat. If he’s a 200g tiddler then he should be indoors. He needs to be big enough not to be picked up in the mouth of a curious fox… they’re very curious.

Q5: Again depends on his size. A chicken wire cover over a run is obviously more secure.

I’m happy to be messaged
 
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Tom

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Hi there

I am really struggling to find definitive info online so wanted to ask a number of questions to someone with more experience than me, hope that's ok?

I live in London and have a lot of fox (and cat) action in our small garden. Vinnie - our tortoise is currently indoors with a uv/heat lamp in his enclosure but I'm hoping to put him outside from next spring as I think he would benefit from more space and a more interesting home. First question - is he old enough to move outside?

Question 2 - I have been reading about cold frames - do you need uv/heat in these or in another part of the run?

Question 3 - when will he start hibernating? If not until he is much older what do I do in the winter with him, can he remain outside if he has a lamp/heat?

Question 4 - back to the foxes...my ideal would be to allow Vinnie to roam the biggest bed in the garden (with a perimeter fence to stop him escaping) and have a cold frame at one end for him to warm up in, BUT the foxes could get him (assuming that he doesnt hide well enough at night, which I've heard from my husband as a child he lost loads of tortoises to foxes in the night). I don't want to turn my small garden into a tortoise focused space and would rather avoid mesh/chicken wire everywhere. So question 4 is are foxes still a big risk?

Question 5 - assuming foxes are still a major issue is the better solution just to give him a section of the bed with an outdoor run (similar to the indoor one) that is partly outdoor and partly covered/cold frame with added heat / lamp?

As mentioned our garden is very small so we dont have loads of space.

Thanks in advance,

Chelsie
This may help cut through some of the conflicting info too:
 
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