Holiday

Use this forum to discuss any aspect of tortoise housing and enclosures. Upload and show pictures of your set ups (enclosures).
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Sharon13
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 Jul 2021, 15:45

Holiday

Post by Sharon13 » 26 Jul 2021, 15:51

Hi all,

Firstly I just love reading all the posts, I've learnt so much.

I've just finished building a new outdoor enclosure for my marginated baby and I'm just wondering if he/she will be ok in there for 2 weeks while we go on holiday, this will be in August so hopefully won't get too cold. There is a secure roof and a wire bottom so nothing can dig in and he/she can't get out, and she is out of sight of the neighbours. My mum has agreed to call round once or twice to check on her/him.

My question is should I provide a heat source for while we are away?
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Nina
Posts: 1560
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Holiday

Post by Nina » 26 Jul 2021, 20:40

Hi Sharon,

What a lovely enclosure you've made! Well done -- you must be so proud of your work!

This is a difficult question. I would say that your tortoise should be fine, but assuming that you live in the UK, you'll be aware that the weather can be horrible at any time of year. Having said that, it is August, so even if we have a cool spell it won't hurt the tortoise -- and he/she will jsut slow down, and no harm will be done. Many tortoises do live 24/7 in people's gardens and they are very happy and come to no harm.

The only things to consider -- just a check list really -- are:
-- Is it super secure (for example could a rat get in if it wanted to). It does sound pretty secure to me
-- Is there a good shelter to pet out of rain/hail etc. if he needs to (I'm on my laptop and can't enlarge your photo, but it looks like there is a waterproof shelter in there).
-- Does it have good drainage? If there was a sudden very heavy thunderstorm, would the water be able to drain away before it got too deep for the tortoise. This would be a rare occasion, but it can happen. Is your enclosure sitting on earth that drains away farily quickly?

Other than that I think you should be fine. Presumably there is a water bowl in the enclosure, but even if the water evaporated, that wouldn't be a great problem, as tortoises can go a long time iwthout drinking if necessary.

What sort of heat source could you provide, and would it be on a thermostat or just a source of heat, and how would it be protected from the elements? It's probably not essential if the enclosure is sited in a place that gets a fair amount of sun during the day. It is important that he has good light and sunshine so that he can get his body temperature up, but I think from the way you have made it, there will be sunny places as well as shady spots under the solid parts of the roof to give respite if the sun is too fierce.

I know I've listed all of the problems that could occur, but actually I think what you've made should be fine, and it's good that your Mum will come in to check once or twice while you're gone. Again, I can't quite see well enough, but are there plants growing in the enclosure that he can eat, or will your Mum be providing food? Sorry, if I was on my iPad I could probably enlarge the photo and see better.

Nina

Sharon13
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 Jul 2021, 15:45

Re: Holiday

Post by Sharon13 » 27 Jul 2021, 09:23

Thanks for your reply Nina,

I am very proud of what we made, although he (I'm going with he as he flashed at my 12yr old daughter, she was mortified :shock: ) has wrecked some of it already. :D

Its very secure with a wire top and base, there is the lid of a plastic seed tray lifted off the ground on some bricks and also a large plant pot on its side for him to shelter under but at the minute he just seems to hide in the corners next to the places we've created.

A little section along the front is set on slabs to raise it slightly but the rest is set on good draining soil and we've never had an issue with standing water. There is a water bowl in there too.

Our garden is south facing so he'll get lots of sun, the heat source I'd seen other people provide was a sort of small rabbit house with a thermostatic tubular heater just in case the temp dropped at night.

There are plants growing in there and I have a few more to add but mums likely to feed him too as she's worried he'll eat everything in the first week and then have nothing left.

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Nina
Posts: 1560
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Holiday

Post by Nina » 27 Jul 2021, 10:03

I think you've got everything covered, and no need to be concerned about anything.

It's great that that garden is south facing, and I don't think there is any need to worry about artifiicial heating while you're away -- the temperature could well drop a bit, and he might slow down a little, but in August it shouldn't drop so far as to put him at risk of anything.

Yes, there is a great chance that he could eat everything in the first week :shock: :) . I once used a large curved roofing tile to make a hill with a tunnel underneath it in my tortoise enclosure and I covered the top with soil and planted lots of sedum on it, to make a sedum roof. I put some log roll all around it to protect it from the tortoise while it was growing, and carefuly nurtured it for weeks and weeks, until the sedum covered the whole roof and looked very pretty. Then one morning I went shopping and when I got back the sight that greeted me was a very smug tortoise who had broken through the log roll where the two ends had been joined, and was sitting happily in the middle of what had been my sedum roof but was now practically bare, as she had eaten the lot in less than an hour. Have attached a photo of her, coming back for seconds (that area had been solid sedums an hour earlier).

Have a great holiday and I'm sure your tort will be fine whole you're away.

Nina
[attachment=0]IMG_1190 (Copy).JPG[/attachment]
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IMG_1190 (Copy).JPG

Sharon13
Posts: 3
Joined: 26 Jul 2021, 15:45

Re: Holiday

Post by Sharon13 » 27 Jul 2021, 10:27

They are little buggers aren't they.

My mum has a huge patch of campanula in her garden so gave me a chunk to plant in his enclosure, think it took less than an hour after planting and it was like it had never been there. Trying to net everything off now but he still seems to get through to places I don't want him to be, he's like a bulldozer.

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Nina
Posts: 1560
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Holiday

Post by Nina » 27 Jul 2021, 11:43

They are amazing at devouring plants, and at escaping too! One thing you can do with plants like, say, campanula, is to put an upside down wire basket over them -- the sort of baskets that you usually put a liner in and are meant to be hanging baskets for plants. then the plant can grow through the holes in the wire basket and the tortoise can nibble the bits that stick out, but he can't get to the whole plant to demolish it. Lol, although the clever ones could dig underneath the rim of the basket and up into the centre where the plant is. Good luck!

Nina

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Nina
Posts: 1560
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Holiday

Post by Nina » 27 Jul 2021, 15:20

It just occurred to me -- if we get a long spell of cold and wet weather, is there an indoor, heated enclosure where your mother could take the tortoise to warm him up, etc.?

Nina

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