The Book of Om: Or, Adventures in Tortoise Keeping, New Zealand edition


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5 Year Member
Jan 5, 2013
Location (City and/or State)
Gosh it's been a long time. But honestly there's been nothing to report. We had a very wet winter and the yard was basically mud, so poor Om has had to make do with the bedroom as his free-running space. But! Exciting news! The outdoor enclosure is underway!

The basis of it is this chicken coop
Because of our drainage issues the Mr has built a sort of table out of untreated hardwood that the coop will sit on to get it off the ground. Inside this will sit a couple of trays, which will be lined with weed matting for drainage and have decently high sides. Those I will fill with bags of topsoil plus pumice that the local hardware store sells. Then comes the fun part - adding plants and making a garden! At the moment I have a couple of local coprosma shrubs, a sickly hibiscus (will probably have to replace that) and some forget-me-not and thyme seedlings. Hopefully the abundant plantain and sow's ear will self seed into the enclosure too, and I'll find some more stuff to add (probably including some roses). I have a small aquarium that I will lie on its side to make a basking area, and the big indoor areas are waterproof and fully shaded. Not quite sure what I will do with those yet, but the smaller one will be his sleeping quarters and maybe I can find some shade-loving house plants to put into the bigger area.

As tortoise enclosures go it's still not huge, but a vast improvement size-wise on the indoor one. It's not really warm enough to shift Om outside yet, but once the basics are set up I will start putting him out there during the day for longer and longer periods so he can get acclimatised, and by the height of summer he should be ready to move in permanently. I think he's gonna love it!
Sounds nice, and now I think I know where all our summer rain ended up! ;) We just had one of the driest summers I've ever seen here in Michigan and are just now catching up on rain. It looks like you have some good plant choices picked out. Plantains exploded in my outdoor tort garden this year.

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