Outdoor enclosure remodel in progress -- seeking input

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thatrebecca

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Well we've only had torts for three months, but we've learned one of the cardinal rules -- that we'll be forever tinkering with the enclosures.

We recently made some changes to the outdoor enclosure for our juvenile CDTs, and I'd love some feedback.

Before we had one big burrow that received afternoon sun and a few different aboveground hides scattered around the enclosure.The main problems with it were -- we couldn't easily access the torts,


Doh! Hit send too soon. Anyway, in the remodel, we built two smaller quasi burrows, dug a foot down and lined and covered them with concrete pavers which we can lift off to access the torts. We put another layer of plywood on top when it's hot or rainy. We have a few inches of dirt, covered by a few inches of orchid bark as the flooring in there.

We also moved the burrows to the end of the enclosure that gets morning sun, and switched their orientation so they face east.

A couple questions:

1) I'd like to add plants that we won't have to water so much that the burrows get damp. (One thing we learned from round 1). Suggestions for the sunny, hot San Fernando Valley?

2) Even though we put them to bed in separate burrows every night, the torts always end up in the same one by mid-day. Does it matter?

Here are pix of the new setup:

ImageUploadedByTortForum1373932992.960406.jpg ImageUploadedByTortForum1373933028.894137.jpg ImageUploadedByTortForum1373933051.875250.jpg ImageUploadedByTortForum1373933068.762259.jpg ImageUploadedByTortForum1373933093.040920.jpg


One other thing. That tort is Morticia, the 3-year-old. She was asleep in the burrow when I pulled her out to model the scale. She wanted me to tell you that, because she feels she has bedhead in that picture and she's really annoyed that I took it. It's a darn good thing there was some hibiscus in it for her.
 

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bpham93

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Its looking good! And yes you could definitely use some sight barriers such as; plants, rocks, logs, anything! Try growing testudo mixes from tortoise supply, or even spineless prickly pair cactus, which are super easy to grow. You want to keep it humid, so water it twice or once a day isn't a bad thing. I'm sure its hot enough over there to keep it dry throughout the day. On a last note, I would keep the two separated, there could be unseen bullying for territory. Overall its looking awesome, goodluck!
 

Team Gomberg

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Use a large succulent for the burrow shade plants. That should work well for low water needs.

I wouldn't worry about them sharing a hide by midday..at least you have 2 set up.

I'd suggest more "bush" type plants that they can burrow into the base of, too.

You could plant ice plant along the wall of your house/back of their pen and they could dig into that. My Russians love it! I try to avoid watering that stuff and it still grows like crazy!

Btw, I see a nice sized yard that they will get to enjoy someday ;)

Heather
Sent from my Android TFO app
 

thatrebecca

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Thanks for the feedback! Yes, we're aware of the issues with pairs, and are prepared to separate the two and provide separate enclosures if and when the time comes.

And yes, Heather, the longterm plan is for them to have the run of the yard. Thanks for noticing! Right now they get "yard hour" when the humans get "cocktail hour" to watch them.

I love the ice plant idea. Any particular bushes you've had success with?
 

lynnedit

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Most of the herbs are fairly drought resistant. My tortoises really like burrowing under Rosemary, Thyme, and also clumping grasses like Carex or Fescue. (all new plants have to be watered for the first 1-2 years to get established during the dry months, but after that...)
 
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