Outdoor Sulcata Enclosure

Shutterbug

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Nov 12, 2019
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38
Location (City and/or State)
British Columbia
Hey Everyone!

Just posting a quick question. I currently have a baby Sulcata who is growing very well, eating great on a variety of foods, and just in general growing into a healthy sulcata! Her hatch date was August 10th.

I am gradually working on an outdoor enclosure for when she is older and needing ideas for secure fencing. I was thinking tin roof sheets cut so they would be about 2ft high with cement patio stones as a dig guard around the perimeter.

The posts are already in and the enclosure is just over 1 acre.

It is an area that hasn't been used or mowed in a while. Grass is all Saskatchewan native grasses that is about 1 foot tall. There is a large tree in the enclosure as well.

Is this big enough? Any plant reccomendations to plant in the enclosure that would survive dry sask summers and winters that would be sulcata safe? How old would the sulcata need to be before being safe in the enclosure?
 

Blackdog1714

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Jul 30, 2018
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Richmond, VA
Wow at 1 acre that is hug. For when they reach full adulthood that is awesome, but while they are smaller you might want to downsize that a lot. The hides, water (drink and pool type, and feeding stations) are very important. They are grazers so grasses are great. They do not recommend unsupervised outside while still small. Per the Care sheet. Also what are you doing for indoor enclosures as I can only imagine what your fall, winter, and spring are like! For the fencing build it with a tank in mind since they can get 100+ pounds. Good Luck
Outdoor housing:
This is a MUST in my opinion. Tortoises are solar powered, need lots of walking room, and benefit greatly form the great outdoors. With hatchlings I start with short excursions of only an hour or two a day, followed by a soak on the way in. As they gain size, I like to leave them out longer and longer each day, weather permitting, until they eventually live outside full time with a heated night box of some sort. Outside time must be done with great care as there are many dangers. They can overheat, be eaten or mauled, or escape. Here are some ideas. These things have all worked well for me, but the possibilities are endless.
For hatchlings: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-30683.html These work great and are very customizable, but make sure you provide adequate shade. Resting some plywood on top will usually not suffice. Use your temp gun early and often to make sure temps are okay when your baby is outside.
My favorite housing ever for juveniles: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-28662.html
And for adults living outside in areas or seasons when a burrow is not appropriate: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-66867.html

For eating
 

Maro2Bear

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Glenn Dale, Maryland, USA
Wow, an acre of Saskatchewan native grasses sounds wonderfully large! It will be a few years before you let it wander about an acre. You might want to fence in a few smaller sections (think horse paddocks) within the acre and let it graze and grow into the acre.

Two feet tall is good, it’s worked for me. Just make sure it’s all solid, no give. A strong Sully will find the weak spot.

Good luck!
 

Shutterbug

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
38
Location (City and/or State)
British Columbia
Wow at 1 acre that is hug. For when they reach full adulthood that is awesome, but while they are smaller you might want to downsize that a lot. The hides, water (drink and pool type, and feeding stations) are very important. They are grazers so grasses are great. They do not recommend unsupervised outside while still small. Per the Care sheet. Also what are you doing for indoor enclosures as I can only imagine what your fall, winter, and spring are like! For the fencing build it with a tank in mind since they can get 100+ pounds. Good Luck
Outdoor housing:
This is a MUST in my opinion. Tortoises are solar powered, need lots of walking room, and benefit greatly form the great outdoors. With hatchlings I start with short excursions of only an hour or two a day, followed by a soak on the way in. As they gain size, I like to leave them out longer and longer each day, weather permitting, until they eventually live outside full time with a heated night box of some sort. Outside time must be done with great care as there are many dangers. They can overheat, be eaten or mauled, or escape. Here are some ideas. These things have all worked well for me, but the possibilities are endless.
For hatchlings: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-30683.html These work great and are very customizable, but make sure you provide adequate shade. Resting some plywood on top will usually not suffice. Use your temp gun early and often to make sure temps are okay when your baby is outside.
My favorite housing ever for juveniles: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-28662.html
And for adults living outside in areas or seasons when a burrow is not appropriate: http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread-66867.html

For eating

Our winters and spring can get quite cold! -45 cold Once she is bigger then I can provide a suitable sized enclosure for, she will have her own room in the basement.

We have a large old farm house, and there is a separate room in the basement with concrete walls. Its approximately 15x10. We will be tearing up the carpet, redoing the floor and setting up this area as her winter "enclosure".

It wont be the prettiest, but it will be warm, secure, safe, and functional for her during our winter months.



For while she is a baby, I was thinking about using a larger kiddie pool, with some substrate and planting safe grasses and weeds. The kiddie pool can then be brought indoors during the winter months (if the grass would live) and dragged back out in the spring.

I can definitely downsize it a bit. Next year we can pound in more posts to make a smaller pen or two for that "inbetween" size.

Biggest concern here is hawks.
 
Last edited:

Blackdog1714

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Jul 30, 2018
Messages
2,044
Location (City and/or State)
Richmond, VA
WOW! You are planning way ahead and that is awesome. As long as you can maintain the heat and humidity the Sulcata will need as it grows you are golden. Keeping reptiles in such a vicious wineter zone is a huge challenge! There are awesome LED plant grow lights (white not red) that can help keeping it growing and to start new!
 

Shutterbug

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
38
Location (City and/or State)
British Columbia
I
WOW! You are planning way ahead and that is awesome. As long as you can maintain the heat and humidity the Sulcata will need as it grows you are golden. Keeping reptiles in such a vicious wineter zone is a huge challenge! There are awesome LED plant grow lights (white not red) that can help keeping it growing and to start new!

I did research on Sulcata and tortoises for a very long time before picking up my little one. ♥

I wanted to make sure that I could give my tortoise of choice the life he or she needed and deserved.

I want to start now setting up her big enclosures and set up because it allows me to do smaller "projects" at a time, and save up, do a bit more etc, instead of having to do it all at once. It also let's the new seeds I toss in to grow strong and healthy etc.


Does anyone know if caragana bushes are safe to plant in a sulcata enclosure? Would like to make a small "bush" area for for shade and enrichment.
 
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