Thor's Temporary Outdoor Enclosure (pic heavy)

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Seiryu

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*Guess I have to do this in 2 posts!*

Well as the weather has been nice (50's+), I started Thor's temporary outdoor enclosure. Took me about 4 days to do everything. I used pressure treated lumber for the entire thing.

Started off by digging a 6ft by 18 inch hole and filled it with regular top soil. And I edged it with 5 inch plastic garden edge so the old grass won't overrun the new stuff.
GrowAreaJustSoil1.jpg


I then planted my seeds. About 1/3 LB of the Grazing Tortoise seed mix from caroline pet supply. And then I got about 1/3 LB total of Orchard, Timothy, Rye and Kentucky Blue grass.
GrowAreaSeeds1.jpg


I read that adding peat moss on top would help growth so I did that.
GrowAreaPeatMoss1.jpg


I made these 4 stakes for the corners of the enclosure.
WoodenStakes1.jpg


And green hardware cloth from Home Depot.
HardwareCloth1.jpg


Outline of the enclosure. It's 6x4 feet. Height is about 20 inches. The bottom wood pieces are 7.5 inches tall, so no climbing for Thor!
4x6Outline1.jpg


Carried the enclosure to the spot and put the green hardware cloth around the outside of the enclosure.
OutdoorLayout2.jpg


Hammered in the stakes with a mini-sledge.
OutdoorLayout3.jpg


Now all that was left is to build the lids. I decided to do two, 3x4 foot lids.
Lid1.jpg


And the finished product! You can see I split the enclosure in half the long way. That is just temporary so I can bring Thor outside now and not have to worry. Waiting for the seeds to grow on the other half.
OutdoorFinished1.jpg


Continue to post 2...

Once it's nice out for "good", probably not until Mid to late may it's going to stay split that way so I can bring Thor outside. He won't get to taste the goodies on the other side until they are established.

I added two Hosta's in the corners for a shade and hide spot.

Green one. They are still growing, pretty small right now.
GreenHosta1.jpg


And a green/white variety.
GreenWhiteHosta1.jpg


Enclosure with no barrier.
OutdoorFinished2.jpg


And last but not least, Thor exploring outside. He's been out today since 1pm (now 5pm). Still out there now. Yey for 75 degree weather.
ThorHosta1.jpg


And him looking so small in there.
ThorOutdoorEnclosure2.jpg


I also have Alyssum, California Poppy, Marigolds, Nasturtium, Pansy and Petunia's growing inside here. Going to have to take them out soon!
000_0002-3.jpg


Finally glad it's finished. I needed lids because we do have hawks around here. There's a creek near the house and there are tons of them. Oh and the giant sabertooth tiger, Max!
Max7.jpg


And those voracious bunnies...
Bunnies3.jpg


Here's a hawk in the winter eating a morning dove.
Hawk1.jpg


Anyways...

I didn't put any chicken wire or anything underneath to prevent digging. However, the 6x1.5 ft hole I dug is lined with the green edger, so no way he'd get out that way. And the rest, well i'm in Michigan and the ground is HARD. Good ol' michigan clay dirt. He's just a year old and has honestly never even tried to dig yet. No way he'll get out by digging through the other soil. Now if he was a 30 lb full grown guy, then possibly but he isn't :p.

His final outdoor enclosure will be 12x15ft (minimum). And will have a chicken wire underneath, but thats years off haha. And that's that!
 

ChiKat

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Love the outdoor enclosure! I wish I was handy enough to build something like that for my Russian.
Are hostas edible?
 

Kristina

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Yes, Hostas are edible, they are in the plantain family. Just try to keep the deer from eating them!

I love your temp pen, it is perfect for what it is meant for.

Also love seeing a fellow Michigander hard at work for their tort kids :)
 

Seiryu

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Thanks guys. Thor has already eaten 2 leaves of the green hosta, little stinker!

Hopefully the seeds will start sprouting soon.
 

terryo

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Great setup. I love Hosta's and use them in my outdoor enclosure too. They are great for sitting in the shade and hiding under.
 

Tropical Torts

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Very NICE! I love your ideas they are very creative and inovative. :) Awsome pics especially the saber tooth cat and the varacious rabbits ;) Very C:):)L
 

Neal

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Great job! and don't worry about thor digging. Leopard tortoises don't dig.
 

Seiryu

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fel1958 said:
very nice.i like the way you split the substrate in half.what will u do for water?

You mean, for his water to drink? There is an orange plant saucer in one of the pics. It's about twice his length so he can drink/soak in that.
 

Seiryu

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Well a week has gone by and I am pretty pleased with the progress.

Here is what is growing so far in there. The weeds came up first a few days ago, and the grasses JUST started coming up yesterday. Today they measure 2-3".
WeedsGrass10days2.jpg


And...
WeedsGrass10days3.jpg


Full view of planted area.
OutdoorNew1.jpg


I also decided to add a hide to his enclosure. The Hosta to the left, I am hoping will eventually spread it's leaves over the ramp down to his hide down there to provide even more shade.

I added that pressure treated wood that runs next to the Hosta and the ramp down to the hide so Thor can't "cliff dive". Once he has the run of the entire enclosure i'll be putting another on the other side. For now the 6ft piece that splits the enclosure does that job. I just used a clay pot, and dug a hole, buried it back in and voila, a hide.
ThorHide2.jpg


Hmm, what's this?
ThorPot1.jpg


Is this a way out?
ThorPot2.jpg


Nope, dead end =(.
ThorPot3.jpg


He isn't all the way in, but there is sphagnum peat moss in there he can bury himself in if he chooses.
ThorPot5.jpg


Thor thinking he can hide from me!
ThorHiding1.jpg


And just Thor in there. It said it was only 65 outside. But my digital thermometer read 83 at ground level. And it was full sun with no clouds today. I know I felt warm in that sun working outside!
ThorGrass2.jpg
 

Greg Knoell

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Rob,
Very nice design and great photos!!...fantastic way to provide your little leopard with some natural food and sun!

Greg
 

Yvonne G

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Hi Rob: I just love it when people give us pictures of their step-by-step tortoise building projects. You outdoor habitat for Thor is very nice and looks real safe.

Just one little thing to clear up: What you used is green chicken wire, not green hardware cloth. Or maybe its a geographical thing. Here on the west coast, hardware cloth is welded wire in rectangular shapes.
 

Seiryu

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emysemys said:
Hi Robb: I just love it when people give us pictures of their step-by-step tortoise building projects. You outdoor habitat for Thor is very nice and looks real safe.

Just one little thing to clear up: What you used is green chicken wire, not green hardware cloth. Or maybe its a geographical thing. Here on the west coast, hardware cloth is welded wire in rectangular shapes.

I guess it is just chicken wire, although it is pretty similar to the green hardware cloth I have used with my Basilisk's outdoor enclosure.

I never even bothered to look to see what it was called haha. Just figured it was the same, just different shape.
 

Tom

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Great job Rob. All the way around. You passed my "If I died and came back as a tortoise, would I want to be YOUR tortoise?" test with flying colors. Thor is one lucky tortoise. I can't wait to see what you do when he gets bigger in a few years.
 

Seiryu

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Small update.

I am so glad I went to the feed store and added in the Orchard, Rye, Kentucky blue and Timothy grass seeds with the carolina mix. Thor didn't care much for the grass from the carolina pet supply mix.

But he now eats huge piles of grass I chop up for him. I will mix in small plaintain pieces with the grass as well.

The grass that is left is about 1/4 of his pile this morning.
ThorEatingGrass2.jpg


Here's what the enclosure looks like now. The Hosta's are getting much bigger and the one by his hide is starting to grow up the ramp down to the hide.

Maybe a week after planting.
WeedsGrass10days4.jpg


1 month after planting the grass/weeds on the right. There is some pretty big weeds in there, but the grass at the moment is much taller.
OutdoorGrassGrown1.jpg


And
OutdoorGrassGrown2.jpg


Grass height. The wood height behind the grass is 7.5". A lot of the grass is above that now. Hopefully it will seed soon.
GrassHeight1.jpg


I do have a question though. Since Thor is still small, what's a good height for the grass to be. I'm thinking around 2 inches?
 

Tom

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Rob, thanks for the update. That's good info on the grass preferences. Nothing beats first hand experience.

To answer your question on the grass height, I'd just let him trample around in it, since you have such a great enclosure and he can't get lost. He'll probably feel very secure in there and it will keep the humidity up too.

If it gets too tall, I've got a sulcata that will mow it down in about 5 minutes. Ha Ha.

My hat is off to you for being such a good tortoise owner.
 
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