What is your "Quick-n-Cheap" outdoor enclosure ideas, tips, your own enclosure?

LyzzaRyzz

New Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2014
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
Hello there!

Let me first start out by saying I know an outdoor enclosure isn't cheap. That'd be the day, huh?


But it's the end of the season, and I've only recently became the mommy of a full grown eastern boxie boy, and I want to get him out of the toybox he's in! Internally, it's only, [I'm guessing here!] 14 inches by 24 inches? For me, it's not enough! And for him either! He told me so.


I've considered getting a frame pool, I found one on Amazon that would be perfect, 5 ft across, but only fifteen inches tall, and GREEN, I think. [ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FQD6AHI/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20 ]


But I'm unsure of whether the material the pool is made of will withstand his claws. Then theres the issue of drainage, but I don't honestly need the bottom, the spot I've been allowed to puts an enclose on is about one-inch gravel rock for a few feet down and around. It's where we used to put our patio table. I'd probably cut a big hole on the middle, or multiple smaller holes. The rocks do make it hard too dig though.

Any enclosure I get will have cypress mulch, possibly a mix, one half deeper than the other, with a sand area and a pool, not sure if I'll have a filter or just an air bubbler, and dump the water every day. There will be plants as well, my mom and I have green thumbs! =]

Not to mention any hide that fits him pretty much cancels out any turtle-ing around that the big guy probably wants to do. I have a kiddie pool, but he can just reach the edge and recently found that out, so now supervised out time is spent pacing and scrabbling to get out, instead of sunning, hunting or whatever turtle mission he would've been on.

So, I'm basically looking for a right-now solution that's better than what I have, as well as a lower cost more permanent solution for next spring. I've tried looking online, home depot doesn't seem to have any "garden fencing" tall enough or non-see through. I know I could go wood but browsing wood online for an idea is like looking at construction paper.

I've thought about a large cage of some sort, with wooden boards around it?

Also, since I bring him in and out each morning and night, ill need a right-now and a future permanent one as well. The indoor one will be worked on over the winter, though.

I've been thinking about this so much I've thunk myself into a standstill, and could really use you guys help!
 

kathyth

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Feb 28, 2012
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3,157
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Beaumont, CA.
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These are my temporary, daytime, mountain enclosures for various tortoises. Materials from Lowes. Set your walls down ( affordable) make any secure tops and plant it.
Good luck.
 

johnsonnboswell

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5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2012
Messages
2,239
You might find end of the season sales on raised garden beds. Any frame that's high enough will work. I use narrow cinderblocks because they're cheaper than landscape blocks. Cap the corners to prevent climbing.

Don't use either cyprus mulch or sand as substrate. Rather than a pond, have a large shallow plant saucer that he can get into & soak in, & provide fresh water daily. Sometimes you can go a few days between water changes, but often not.

Your best outdoor substrate is your own organic finished compost. Think of a forest floor or a germination bed for consistency & moisture & drainage. It supports bug life & worms for his hunting pleasure, will grow plants beautifully. A garden waste compost pile is also good in the habitat, and certainly a leaf pile.

Use top soil with no additives if you don't have compost. The leaves you add will get ground in & enrich it.
 

LyzzaRyzz

New Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2014
Messages
12
Location (City and/or State)
Rhode Island
**
Sorry for the book, I'm prone to rambling about my pets. Don't even get me started on my dogs! =D
**

Thank you guys for all of your advice! Sorry for the late reply, I got lost in my research! But I swear I saw your replies as you gave them!

I believe, in the end I'll use the bigger cinder blocks, as I plan to use them long ways vertically, since my turbie is about nine inches hind legs to tip of nose, and I like the security of the extra height, [besides the possibility of a second..or third..turble joining him, and hoping their not able to stretch n see over the blocks.] The thinner blocks seemed less stable, especially since I sense Davos, the Onion Turble, is smart enough to figure out one big turtle push and he would be free! I could secure them, but I'd rather have the flexibility or pieces or moving sections because, well, I'm always changing my mind as well as upgrading! That is unless somebody I know springs for one of these bad boys! =P
http://www.lllreptile.com/products/4849-waterland-tubmedium-land-enclosure

Probably not but a girl can dream!


But for now, I combed and searched the internet for large plastic, wood, canvas bin, tote, crate, pool, whathaveyou....and the largest anything I could find was a 54 gallon "Roughneck" tote, 42.5x21.5x18.6.


Believe me, I searched. If anyone knows a reasonable priced tub that will ultimately serve as Onion's indoor enclosure, let me know! The ones that're of a good size, are as much as a four hundred dollars! After his outdoor pen is done, in the spring, I'll work on a better indoor home, but one thing at a time!


So right now, his outdoor tote is about 42x21; 6.3 sq. ft., which is a massive improvement from his former outdoor toybox, which is now his inside enclosure, is 26x14; 2.5 sq. ft. His old indoor was 2.8 sq. ft., but it's an awkward size, with no room for Onion to turtle about, not with a water hole that fits him, and a hide! But it was the only tub I had, and luckily the toy box is just the right shape for a bit of walking. The New bin though, he was practically running around!=]



My substrate, [ for the moment; I had to finish a BIG bag of it!] Is cypress mulch, with highlights of sphagnum moss. I aim to get a few more moss bags from Dollar Tree, the moss and mulch mixed evenly is actually really soft and springy, and I used it as the substrate under his hides, and he seemed to really enjoy laying in his moss bed. I bet he'll be surprised it goes so deep when he borrows!
A short term goal is to nab quite a bit of clean potting soil at an end of season prices, and start mixing the soil into the moss/mulch mix, probably to 50-70% soil.

Next spring, I'll take the rest of my frozen bags of dirt out of my shed, and after checking and fixing the stability of the frame on the enclosure [I hope to have built by the time snow happens this year], and I'll dump some of the bags about and I hate to waste and throw things out, so I'll mix in the mulch, making the base of the enclosure. The actual bottom of the pen is gravel, and if I end up with a pool or something with a bottom, I'll drill, cut or modify whatever I need to.

Once the base dirt mulch layer is down, I can start physically working on the plan I have no doubt I'll have perfected by then. One side will be deeper than the other, hopefully with some sort of rock, rock-substitute outcrop, to encourage him to burrow in and make his own"cave". Maybe a log of some sort? But hopefully his smaller wading dish, which will be removable, will be on the 'hill'.


His main pool will be a version of this masterpiece, [not sure what this forums stance is on links to other forums, but this is such a great DIY, I figure it can't hurt to try!]
http://www.turtletimes.com/forums/topic/69137-soaking-pond-instructions-with-photos/

I aim to make it with concrete, mixed with moss. I read somewhere in my internet travels that mixing sphagnum moss with concrete makes it darker, and after it dries, and the moss is worn off, it leaves a patterned and rough surface great for turtle gripping. After the initial making of it, if drastic changes happen, it may be movable.
It would only be a few inches deep, and probably will be filtered by hose to a bucket on the other side of enclosure. If I even want to get that technical. I definitively wouldn't rely on the filter to keep the water clean, I change his water twice a day, now, more if I see it's dirty, so I would still keep up that routine, flushing the system every morning before refilling.
I do have trays and saucers, but I'm crafty and I've got supplies!

Oh and I would like to have sand around the "pond" just for aesthetic reasons, not a ton, but a little beach type thing. Is there any reason sand isn't allowed? Any health risks?


I plan on having live plants, some in pots, some for trampling, more on top of border of the pen. There will be no shortage of plants for Onion to hide in, eat, run over or poop on. I am looking into species choices and no-no's, any ideas? For shelter, I'm looking for something small, obviously, but that is mushroom shaped. As in, the base is little to no leaves, with a bunch on top, hopefully hanging down, like ago and weeping willow, but a bush maybe? I just want there to be a bush cavern for him to hide in, lol.

I hope to grow grass, but am not quite sure how to transplant grass that I've grown in a tray with the grass that's been smooshed, sat on and punished for a while.
I kind of want mostly everything, [plant and decoration wise] movable, or interchangeable. I know that'll be hard to do for a ground cover, but I'm hoping that if even just a portion of the ground cover is changeable, he'll at least have fresh, green, tall grass to mow over in one party of his yard!
Are there any ground cover plants that are good, or that turtles enjoy? I can and will keep things trimmed!

I would also like vines. I'm bonkers for vines and ivy. I could grow morning glories, and probably will try to on the inside, but definitely will on the outside, and up the fence, which I plan to use as one of the sides of the enclosure. But I feel like they are too delicate, and Onion will get to them before they get to do any real climbing!
I've tried multiple ivy indoors and all, to my sadness, have died. I have a much better aquatic green thumb, but my mom will be participating in the "turtle garden", and she's turned almost every space available into a lush garden of eden already!
What plant do turtles love to eat? I would grow a couple small pod to replace the ones he really destroys.
What's tried-and-true?


Sorry for the book, I'm prone to rambling about my pets. Don't even get me started on my dogs! =D
 
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