Temporary Outdoor Enclosure for Two Russians - Questions

ChloeCrull

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Hello, everyone!

First, I must apologize for adding another thread to an endless cycle of "Temporary Outdoor Enclosure" posts! I checked a lot of other similar threads, but none answered my specific questions.

Moving on!

Background information:

I currently have a 6ft x 3 ft indoor, wooden enclosure. My tortoises love stampeding around and wrecking havoc among themselves. It seems to be a fairly large enclosure for them.

However, being located in California, I do not want to deny my babies the excellent sunlight and warmth outside. Thus, I have decided to begin my next project; I want to construct a temporary outdoor enclosure.

Now, I live in a two-story apartment building with two dogs (I am not sneaking in the tortoises; in fact, the maintenance staff loves to watch the little guys run around their cage!). Connected to my bedroom is a large, concrete balcony with (roughly) 3ft high walls.

In the late morning (9-11), there is a large patch of sunlight that appears on the balcony that stretches about 3ft x 2ft in a rectangular shape. I think it will be a perfect sunbathing spot for my tortoises!

So, I went hunting around hardware stores for a cement mixing tub that would fit the patch of sunlight on the balcony. After a few hours of driving and searching, I found a store that carries a cement mixing tub with these measurements (in INCHES): 36" x 24" x 8".

I am also going to add chicken wire across the top to avoid hawks that circle around the field across the street from my apartment complex.

Questions

1. Is a 36" x 24" x 8" cement mixing tub too small for two Russians?


2. Is it safe (not stressful) to move my tortoises between cages once a day?


3. Is two hours in the sun every day a healthy amount of natural sunlight? (They receive UVA/UVB in their indoor enclosue).


4. Does this idea sound reasonable?
 

lismar79

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Two hours seems better than none so I say go for it. I would plant your outdoore space heavy and add a lot of sight barriers to keep your two from fighting. Can you go any bigger at all? Even if its additional shadey area, they might want the option to cool down.
 

Tom

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Questions
1. Is a 36" x 24" x 8" cement mixing tub too small for two Russians?
2. Is it safe (not stressful) to move my tortoises between cages once a day?
3. Is two hours in the sun every day a healthy amount of natural sunlight? (They receive UVA/UVB in their indoor enclosue).
4. Does this idea sound reasonable?

1. Yes. Too small. Sun them in two tubs, or make something bigger. The 8" sides are a little too low.
2. Totally safe. No problem. I've done this with many species and all sizes and ages for decades. Not an issue at all.
3. Yes. That is great. You don't need indoor UV at all with that routine. It won't hurt anything though to keep offering indoor UV.
4. See all of the above.

Here are two easy ideas that will work better than those little tubs.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/cheap-easy-simple-sunning-enclosure.14680/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/simple-sunning-enclosure.104351/

I made one out of cinder blocks too, but now I can't find the thread. Same concept as the second link.
 

ChloeCrull

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Two hours seems better than none so I say go for it. I would plant your outdoore space heavy and add a lot of sight barriers to keep your two from fighting. Can you go any bigger at all? Even if its additional shadey area, they might want the option to cool down.


Thanks for your response! To be honest, I wouldn't mind going bigger at all. Unfortunately, I have not seen a SINGLE cement mixing tub or anything else suitable in a larger size (online they are around $100 or $150 too—it's insane!).
 

ChloeCrull

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1. Yes. Too small. Sun them in two tubs, or make something bigger. The 8" sides are a little too low.
2. Totally safe. No problem. I've done this with many species and all sizes and ages for decades. Not an issue at all.
3. Yes. That is great. You don't need indoor UV at all with that routine. It won't hurt anything though to keep offering indoor UV.
4. See all of the above.

Here are two easy ideas that will work better than those little tubs.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/cheap-easy-simple-sunning-enclosure.14680/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/simple-sunning-enclosure.104351/

I made one out of cinder blocks too, but now I can't find the thread. Same concept as the second link.


Thanks, Tom! You always save me! I'll check out those links; I really appreciate the response :)
 

ChloeCrull

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1. Yes. Too small. Sun them in two tubs, or make something bigger. The 8" sides are a little too low.
2. Totally safe. No problem. I've done this with many species and all sizes and ages for decades. Not an issue at all.
3. Yes. That is great. You don't need indoor UV at all with that routine. It won't hurt anything though to keep offering indoor UV.
4. See all of the above.

Here are two easy ideas that will work better than those little tubs.
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/cheap-easy-simple-sunning-enclosure.14680/
http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/simple-sunning-enclosure.104351/

I made one out of cinder blocks too, but now I can't find the thread. Same concept as the second link.

I noticed in your "Cheap Easy Simple Sunning Enclosure" post that you mentioned a $4.38 substrate at Lowe's. Do you remember the specific name of the item or any other affordable substitutes? Also, how much water should I add to the substrate? I am worried that it will become mud. Thanks!
 

Tom

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I noticed in your "Cheap Easy Simple Sunning Enclosure" post that you mentioned a $4.38 substrate at Lowe's. Do you remember the specific name of the item or any other affordable substitutes? Also, how much water should I add to the substrate? I am worried that it will become mud. Thanks!

For larger enclosures it makes more sense to buy bulk substrate from the hardware store. If I recall correctly, they refer to that one as "Pathway Bark". They still sell it here and it works very well.

I like it just a little damp for hotter weather. I actually leave it much drier in winter to avoid evaporative cooling. I'll bet it will be damp enough right out of the bag. Its not too dusty when dry either, so you might want to leave it fairly dry until the warmer days of spring come back.
 

Team Gomberg

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Keep in mind, you don't want their enclosure in full sun. I notice you keep mentioning a tub to fill the sun spot. They need shade too. BOTH Sun and shade at all times will allow them to regulate their temperatures. ;)
 

Team Gomberg

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Keep in mind, you don't want the enclosure in full sun. You mention wanting a tub the size of the sun spot. They need shade too. BOTH sun and shade on their enclosure will allow them to regulate their temperatures. ;)

Oh and it doesn't need to have "sun" at all times but it DOES need to have "shade" at all times. So if they go out from 10am to 2pm...even if they only have sun during 2 hours of that time frame, its ok. As long as they have shade along with the sun.
 

Jacqui

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Thanks for your response! To be honest, I wouldn't mind going bigger at all. Unfortunately, I have not seen a SINGLE cement mixing tub or anything else suitable in a larger size (online they are around $100 or $150 too—it's insane!).

If you are wanting to stick with a tub idea, you might look into a local feed store/tractor supply and look at what they have for the rubber stock tanks for sheep or even like a round horse tank in the plastic.
 

Team Gomberg

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Another idea...

You don't actually need a "tub" for the enclosure to be on a concrete patio. I had to temporarily house a leopard on concrete and this is what I did...

I bought three 2"x10"s that are 8' long. I had 1 cut in half. This allowed me to make a 4'x8' frame that I simply set on the ground. No bottom needed, I just used the concrete as the bottom. Then I added a few bags of soil and a few bags of pathway bark on top. I spent maybe $30 for the wood and $20 or less on the dirt/bark.
I also realized I could utilize the patio walls (technically a wooden fence and the side of the house) as 2 of the tort enclosure walls so my 2"x10"s only made up the other walls. Gave me much bigger space that way!

I can't share the photos right now..I'm on my phone and the pics are on my pc.. but I will attach them next time I'm on the computer.
 

Jacqui

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A child's plastic wading/swimming pool works well instead of a tub too. The bigger one would be the one you would want to get.

If you do use a tub of any kind, be sure to punch drainage holes in the bottom.
 

Team Gomberg

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Here are the promised pictures. I hope it gives you ideas. :cool: With 2 adult Russians, you could easily (and affordably) make them separate 4'x8' enclosures for them to spend many hours outdoors.
Add some potted plants throughout (since you can't plant on concrete) and it'll be much better!

See, I used the wooden fence as one wall, the house as the other. The 8' 2"x10" board comes away from the house, crosses in 5' to make an L, goes down another 4' then back toward the fence is the second 4' board.
314wgte.jpg


Most of the area has top soil laid down then the bark on top. Here's to show you the asphalt (ya I know I said concrete..) underneath

vymuz8.jpg


Luckily I had a 6"-8" strip of dirt along the fence. So I could plant those ornamental grasses and sow a few seeds... but if this needed to be more than temporary (he was here for just shy of 3months) I'd have created planter boxes or added potted plants.

oh...if I had Russians I'd cap the corners to add a lip along the entire perimeter!
 
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