Small outdoor enclosure build guide (with pictures)

Turtlepete

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Hey everyone,

I've had some photos on my phone for a little while now of an enclosure I built a while back. I make 4x4, fully predator-proofed enclosures that I sell with my red foot tortoise hatchlings. They are 18" high with a hinged lid on top and wired in on the bottom.
I figured I'd put together a little guide with the pictures. It's incredibly simple to people who know how to do it, but I know it's very hard for others, so hopefully this guide will help someone out there. And if not, it only took me 5 minutes to put together :). Haha

Materials needed:
  • 6 8' PT decking boards (nicer then corral boards)
  • One 8' PT 2x4
  • Small box of 2 1/2" screws
  • Small box of 3" screws
  • Wire (any kind. I used plastic green wire from home depot. Comes in small rolls for about $25)
  • 16' of PT 2x2
  • 2 3" door hinges
  • A handle for the door
  • Metal wire staples (the kind put in with a hammer, NOT a staple-gun)

Stack of decking boards cut into 4' pieces.

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Lay out 3, make sure the ends are all lined up perfectly.

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Screw a 2x4 on either side. Make sure to leave enough room on top so another 2x4, the one for the frame, can sit on top of them and be even with the top of the wall.

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Repeat.

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Take both, stand them up, and add another board to attach them on either side.

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Screw them on, like-so.

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Add two more boards until you have a box.

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Add a 2x4 in the middle of the bottom. This is used to staple the wire to on the bottom of the cage.

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Staple the wire on the bottom..

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Add a rim of 2x2 to the top. Make sure it lines up perfectly with the upright 2x4's. This is used for the frame to sit on and relieve pressure. Not necessary, but makes it last longer.

photo3_zps639eac59.jpg


photo4_zps9bb06884.jpg


I didn't take many pictures of building the lid, unfortunately. Here is the frame. Cut 4 pieces of 2x4, one for each wall (make sure you know which are which, as the walls could end up off by 1/2" and mess up the frame). Cut them at a 45' angle on all sides, and then used 2 3" screws to screw them together at the joints. Then add a center brace.

photo_zps15bb55d0.jpg


From there, add the wire, the handle, and hinges to the door. Attach the hinges to the board on the wall, and voi'la.

The finished product.

photo1_zps533ef9b9.jpg


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These are basically built to be put into place, filled in with a couple inches of substrate, add hides, plants, water bowls, and be good to go. They are completely escape and predator-proofed. With stronger wire and lock on the lid, they could be human-proofed as well. This enclosure would be suitable for any species of tortoise, up to maybe 5-6". So only useful for juvenilles/hatchlings. It would also work well for younger box turtles.

Hopefully this will help someone out there, and show just how easy it is to make a nice enclosure.
 

wellington

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I like them and that you have them ready for your babies new owners to purchase. Now, take one and show how easy it would be to add to it for when the juvies need more room. Add that pictorial to this thread and you will have a bunch of happy juvie torts out there, once their owners realize that when they grow, so does their habitat need to grow.:D
Thanks for sharing this. Good work and you made it look and read easy.
 

Yvonne G

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I like that the lid is recessed. This makes it harder for little raccoon fingers to get in there and pry it open.

474158gy04azrh2x.gif
 

reptoman

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Very nice detail. Gives me some great ideas for an outdoor enclosure. I think the wired bottom will work great at keeping undesirables from burrowing in from underneath.
 

leigti

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These basic instructions could be modified just a little bit to make a much bigger enclosure. I think these are great instructions. I wish there was something like this when I went to build my enclosure. I did the best I could but I'm not exactly a Carpenter. I like the recessed lid.
 

bouaboua

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Very nice......Nice and clearly instructed. Thanks.
 

sbwalker5

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This is brilliant @Turtlepete !

I nearly actually started a thread the other day, asking if anyone could put up simple step-by-step guides for anything, such as putting together enclosures and things.

I'm very inexperienced with DIY, but I usually can do anything if I have a method and instructions to follow (which suits me as a Science Technician!)

I will definitely be using this to put together an outdoor enclosure for my yearling marginated!
 

jeasy88

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question: I really want to put my young Sulcata outside using something like this. my only concern is that I live in Florida and the rain can be pretty harsh. How would you combat hard rain with your enclosure idea?
 

Turtlepete

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question: I really want to put my young Sulcata outside using something like this. my only concern is that I live in Florida and the rain can be pretty harsh. How would you combat hard rain with your enclosure idea?

I wouldn't. Apart from the two or three hides that should be in there anyways, no other precautions are necessary. Tortoises live through rain just fine, especially in florida where it is warm when it rains, not cool. As long as it is not cool and wet, rain doesn't bother them one bit. Most tortoises, in fact, love it. One precaution you DO need to take however, is to ensure the enclosure won't flood.

@sbwalker5

Glad it helped you out :).
 

jeasy88

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Hey turtle Pete I took your idea and expanded it! Almost done! Thanks for the how to.

I am really concerned about rain because it comes down like a monsoon and I'm sure it will flood or get very soggy. I plan to combat this by putting gravel or small rocks along the border and soil in the middle. This way there should be good drainage.

What about making one of the 4 foot doors have plexiglass to keep one side possibly dry during rain and hold some humidity during dryer times?
 

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Turtlepete

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Hey turtle Pete I took your idea and expanded it! Almost done! Thanks for the how to.

I am really concerned about rain because it comes down like a monsoon and I'm sure it will flood or get very soggy. I plan to combat this by putting gravel or small rocks along the border and soil in the middle. This way there should be good drainage.

What about making one of the 4 foot doors have plexiglass to keep one side possibly dry during rain and hold some humidity during dryer times?

Wow, glad it helped somebody out. Looks great. You could do that. I would use corrugated plastic paneling though, as it's cheaper then plexiglass. Down here its about $22 for an 8x2 sheet.
 

alysciaingram

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Ah I found the thread!! This thread was my inspiration for this: ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1404750717.831497.jpg

Thank you soooo much!!!!
 

jeasy88

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ImageUploadedByTortoise Forum1407459319.885613.jpg

Here is an updated picture.

Link with video


Once the grass grows in I plan to put him out there. I have a thermostat and ceramic heat bulb with lamp coming and I plan to put it over the burrow I made to provide heat since it isn't very deep or well insulated to keep temps up during the winter months
 
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