Tonka’s Tortoise Taj Mahal completed!

Donna Albu

Member
5 Year Member
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
69
Beautiful!!! I do have one concern: The wire mesh up against the tree for the plants to climb has sharp ends extending out where it had been cut to shape. Those need to be bent back with some pliers. Sulcatas behave like bulldozers, and eventually, Tonka will have an altercation with it. Also, I can't see whether or not it is securely mounted. I would frame it with either 2x4's or small logs (you can staple it to the frame) and then secure the top with wire wrapped around the tree trunk and stakes at the bottom corners to ensure that Tonka has no ability to move it.

I don't know if it would work for you, but we eventually discourage our young male sulcatas to not burrow by removing them from their initial digging spots, filling the hole back in, then covering it with a piece of smooth rock, or flagstone so they could no longer dig in that location. They were persistent for a few months, but so were we. Now (fully grown) they just dig shallow holes in corners to stay cool. I have no explanation as to why this worked, other than they each had a lovely shelter in which they could cool off, get out of the weather, (they are thermostatically controlled for heat in the winter) and spend the night if they want.

And I might note that I am jealous!!! You are lucky that you live in a climate where you can use tin to make their sight free walls! Here in Phoenix those would get so hot in the summer that it would cause burns. So we have cinder block on top of an 18" cement foundation all the way around, including under each gate and under the walls that separate each pen.

Enjoy your tortoise - they are real characters!
 

Cathie G

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Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
8,803
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster
Beautiful!!! I do have one concern: The wire mesh up against the tree for the plants to climb has sharp ends extending out where it had been cut to shape. Those need to be bent back with some pliers. Sulcatas behave like bulldozers, and eventually, Tonka will have an altercation with it. Also, I can't see whether or not it is securely mounted. I would frame it with either 2x4's or small logs (you can staple it to the frame) and then secure the top with wire wrapped around the tree trunk and stakes at the bottom corners to ensure that Tonka has no ability to move it.

I don't know if it would work for you, but we eventually discourage our young male sulcatas to not burrow by removing them from their initial digging spots, filling the hole back in, then covering it with a piece of smooth rock, or flagstone so they could no longer dig in that location. They were persistent for a few months, but so were we. Now (fully grown) they just dig shallow holes in corners to stay cool. I have no explanation as to why this worked, other than they each had a lovely shelter in which they could cool off, get out of the weather, (they are thermostatically controlled for heat in the winter) and spend the night if they want.

And I might note that I am jealous!!! You are lucky that you live in a climate where you can use tin to make their sight free walls! Here in Phoenix those would get so hot in the summer that it would cause burns. So we have cinder block on top of an 18" cement foundation all the way around, including under each gate and under the walls that separate each pen.

Enjoy your tortoise - they are real characters!
That's really interesting about your tortoises not digging burrows anymore. My little Russian doesn't either but he'll just kinda hunker down in a depression and is satisfied with that maybe. I don't know if after they find out and get used to their safer environment if that behavior is just a defense from living in the wild.🙂
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
I love that gate! A word of knowledge, you will NEVER finish a tortoise enclosure. It is never ending, with jumps as money, time and energy allow. Lol
I can already agree with you. There is so much more to caring for these dinosaur looking creatures. I will forever be learning what I can add or have done better or bigger.....definitely bigger.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
Lovely enclosure. If I were you I'd add a small, study bench to sit on so you can sometimes just sit inside and watch Tonka enjoy life. I find it very relaxing to do this with Stella. Great job.
Lovely idea! His first emergency enclosure had one in it and it surprised me how much time I could invest in just watching him graze or wander around. They really are something special.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
22
Location (City and/or State)
Alabama
Beautiful!!! I do have one concern: The wire mesh up against the tree for the plants to climb has sharp ends extending out where it had been cut to shape. Those need to be bent back with some pliers. Sulcatas behave like bulldozers, and eventually, Tonka will have an altercation with it. Also, I can't see whether or not it is securely mounted. I would frame it with either 2x4's or small logs (you can staple it to the frame) and then secure the top with wire wrapped around the tree trunk and stakes at the bottom corners to ensure that Tonka has no ability to move it.

I don't know if it would work for you, but we eventually discourage our young male sulcatas to not burrow by removing them from their initial digging spots, filling the hole back in, then covering it with a piece of smooth rock, or flagstone so they could no longer dig in that location. They were persistent for a few months, but so were we. Now (fully grown) they just dig shallow holes in corners to stay cool. I have no explanation as to why this worked, other than they each had a lovely shelter in which they could cool off, get out of the weather, (they are thermostatically controlled for heat in the winter) and spend the night if they want.

And I might note that I am jealous!!! You are lucky that you live in a climate where you can use tin to make their sight free walls! Here in Phoenix those would get so hot in the summer that it would cause burns. So we have cinder block on top of an 18" cement foundation all the way around, including under each gate and under the walls that separate each pen.

Enjoy your tortoise - they are real characters!
Thank you for catching that with the iron trellisI had never imagined how strong these guys could be until being around him just a short while. He is now 12 lbs. having gained 3 since we’ve had him and he feels like all muscle when moving him about. So I’m sure he could move that trellis and it could become a danger. Thank you!
So far I haven’t seen or found any evidence of him digging. Am sure that will come but for now he seems content or is too lazy. As for the tin, fortunately it is shaded most of the year and the sun concentrates in the middle where we cut trees down.
Concrete around yours is awesome. You must sleep well at night knowing yours is in such a safe and strong enclosure. Love that! Hope to do that for his permanent home one day.
 
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