Square footage / new enclosure idea


Jul 7, 2018
Location (City and/or State)
Hi there - as with nearly all my question on this forum, this is that of a chamber enclosure, but a radically different one. I’ve already ran Herb (4 yr Russian) through a double decker chamber enclosure for about a year (April 2020- a few days ago), so the question of whether or not he’ll climb a ramp isn’t the issue now. Now, I’d like to know if 3 6x2x2 boxes (6 foot length, 2 foot depth and heigh) would work, to stop him from scratching along the walls, as it’s driving my parents and I a little crazy. Mainly me, since they’re not next to him all day. Question being, what’s the widely agreed on square footage rule for an adult Russian? This’ll give him just shy of 36 sq ft, which I’m pretty sure is good but I just wanted to run it by y’all before I did anything.

I know the issues glass top to bottom presents, so there’ll be about 6” or so of wood from the floor just to stop him from seeing out into the outside world, because I know torts can’t understand glass.

This good? I can give the blueprints if need be.

Krista S

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Aug 4, 2019
Location (City and/or State)
A minimum size enclosure for a full grown Russian is usually stated to be 8ft x 4ft, but bigger would be better. So if you have 3 levels that are 2 feet high each, I would imagine you’d need at lease 1 foot of space above and below the middle section to be able to tend to the enclosure which would make the enclosure at least 8 feet tall. So you’ll need a ladder to tend to the middle and top levels? This will eat up a lot of electricity with having to heat each level and provide proper UV. Unless if you have come up with a clever way for your tortoise to get to each level, I think the main concern from my perspective is that it’s just not a good use of space. From almost every multi level enclosure I’ve seen, to do the ramp in a way that is safe for the tortoise and not too steep, the ramps eat up a lot of the usable floor space, leaving you will a lot less sq ft than anticipated. That’s my food for thought. There’s quite a few examples on the forum of multi level enclosures. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest doing a search on this forum. There’s a lot of neat ideas out there.

You mentioned your tortoise scratching on the walls. It is very common for tortoises to walk the perimeter of their enclosure through the day. Is it that your tortoise’s shell is rubbing against the walls as he’s doing laps or is he really trying to climb out? Nobody here will be able to answer for sure if doing a triple decker enclosure will stop him from wanting to scratch/climb the walls. Russians are adventurous little buggers and are know to be escape artists. Does he have an outdoor enclosure that can provide more space for him to wander?

I wish you luck with your endeavour and look forward to see what you come up with! 🙂