Design for new indoor emclosure

Use this forum to discuss any aspect of tortoise housing and enclosures. Upload and show pictures of your set ups (enclosures).
Post Reply
Teddy28
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 May 2017, 10:57

Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Teddy28 » 09 Feb 2020, 14:13

[attachment=1]20200208_131426_resized_1.jpg[/attachment]Hi All,
This is the design for a new indoor enclosure for Boris (recently acquired elderly Horsfield)
Thanks already Nina for you comments back in November, how time flies.
The table will be 6ft long by 2 and a half ft wide, it will sit on top of some cupboard units so there will be space underneath to store all his tortoise paraphernalia and his hibernation fridge, also it'll be at waist height so easier on my back!
I've gone for a lower front to the table for easier access for me and am planning on having a removeable feeding platform/balcony along the back. Toying with the idea of trying a piece of perspex in the front wall to allow him to look out, even though I know advice is its better for them not to be able to see out, he seems to really enjoy looking around.
Any thought or suggestions will be gratefully received as we want to get it right before the build starts
Many thanks
Teddy and Boris (testing out his escape skills!)
[attachment=1]20191109_122906_resized.jpg[/attachment][attachment=0]20191109_122906_resized.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]20200208_131426_resized_1.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]20200208_131426_resized_1.jpg[/attachment]
Attachments
20191109_122906_resized.jpg
20200208_131426_resized_1.jpg

User avatar
lin
Posts: 831
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by lin » 09 Feb 2020, 15:03

I personally would go with a Perspex front and if it’s not suitable and causes any stress then you could always a paper or sticker transfer to the front...like those used to back reptile vivs or fish tanks .
One think I would double check though, is the depth of the sides to make sure the ramp does not overshoot the side to allow any accidents.
It will be a beautiful enclosure though.
Lin

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1458
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Nina » 09 Feb 2020, 15:26

Ooh, that is looking very good! My 7' x 2' table sits on cupboards and they are so useful! Mine has doors on the front, but not back so I can run the wires for the lights etc out the back and up with no problem and have the multi-socket thingy with the plugs and the timers on a shelf in the cupboard at the front. So if I want to adjust the timing I just open a cupboard door and alter the timer settings.

Re the glass at the front. You could certainly try what Lin says, but if you find you have to put a barrier up on the glass you will need to do it on the inside, as if you do it on the outside they can still see themselves reflected in the glass and that is frustrating for them. Personally I don't think I would, as they really don't understand the concept of glass and find it frustrating not to be able to walk through it, but why not try it and see what happens.

One thing I can't tell from your diagram is exactly where the feeding platform will be (does it run the length of the long side of the table or the width at one end? Do remember that wherever it is, the space underneath it is a bit of a waste of space because it will be darker and the tortoise will use it less. If I had my table to do over I would have made my feeding platform (which is 23" x 18") much smaller. It would have to be 23" wide as that is the width of the table, but it could have easily been 10" deep instead of 18" and there would have been more useable space on the ground floor.

Also, when planning the height of your walls, remember that you have to subtract the depth of your substrate (so a 12" wall becomes only 8" or 9" high if the tortoise is standing on the substrate). I love your photo of the tortoise climbing up the wall of his table -- lol, let that be a warning to all :-)

Nina

Teddy28
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 May 2017, 10:57

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Teddy28 » 09 Feb 2020, 16:13

Thanks for the useful advice. Easy to forget to account for the depth of the substrate isn't it.
The feeding platform, I was thinking of having it just as a square or even triangle in one of the back corners, just enough room for food bowls, boris and room to manouvre and having the ramp against the back wall, having seen how tall this elderly gent is when he stands on his back legs, I'll need to make sure he can't reach the top but will also put a rim around the tops of the table. Good advice too Nina about the backless cupboards.
We (notice I 've changed from 'I' to 'we'!!) just need to start it now, there's always the chance something could have been better but you can spend forever looking for the best design.
Whatever shape the feeding platform is, I was thinking it could serve as a sleeping compartment underneath but with the ability to take the platform off for cleaning etc.
Thanks as always
Teddy

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1458
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Nina » 09 Feb 2020, 16:45

Your plans for the feeding platform sound perfect,and the ramp too. I used to have a ramp against the wall in the previous table, but the chap who made this one put it in the middle (having it in the middle does have the advantage of the tortoise being able to walk all the way around it in the ground, whereas if it's against the wall he can only walk under it from one side (but being against the wall has other definite advantages).

A rim around the top with a half-inch lip facing inwards will be enough to stop him climbing out, so that should work well.

I've just written to someone else who asked about construction of a ramp and I sent her photos, so I might as well copy that here in case it's of any use to you. Yes the sleeping compartment can serve as a sleeping area (and that is another reason why you don't want it too big (your idea of size sounds perfect), because tortoises like a snug, cozy sleeping area, not a spacious one. Here's what I said to Rachel the other night, and some photos.
______________________
The ramp just needs to be wide enough for the tortoise to be able to walk up it comfortably.
Mine is covered in something a bit like roofing felt (the gritty material that they use on shed roofs) to give traction.

It's important that the ramp and the floor of the upper level are removable so that they don't get in the way of cleaning (it's a real hassle if they are fixed). My ramp just rests on the wall of the upper level, but where it touches the floor of the table there is a piece of wood glued that it butts up against, to keep it from slipping (you can see that little piece of wood in one of the attached photos). Inside the sleeping area there are three panels of wood that are glued'nailed to the walls of the table and reach a height that you want the floor of the upper level to be, and the floor rests on the top of these, and the fourth side rests on the front wall of that area which sits on the floor of the table. (another photo). The floor of the upper level has a little rail at the front, with a gap in it where the ramp sits (another photos showing floor in place with ramp). So to take the ramp out and the floor out you just lift them up as they aren't fixed. The ramp sits sort of in the middle of the front, but that' isn't essential (in previous enclosure it was at one side), but it does mean that the tortoise can walk around the ramp and under it from both sides.

Nina
[attachment=0]m_DSC02240.jpg[/attachment][attachment=1]m_DSC02239.jpg[/attachment][attachment=2]m_DSC02238.jpg[/attachment]
Attachments
m_DSC02240.jpg
m_DSC02239.jpg
m_DSC02238.jpg

Teddy28
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 May 2017, 10:57

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Teddy28 » 09 Feb 2020, 21:36

Thanks for this Nina, I think I understand it, especially with the photos.
The one with the brick in it, is that the sleeping area with the roof off? And is the brick just to give them a smaller cosy area to sleep in?

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1458
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Nina » 09 Feb 2020, 22:14

Spot on. The area with the brick in it is the sleeping area with the roof off (so that you can see the piece of wood that goes half way up, that the floor rests on). Ahh, the brick itself is another story. The reason it is there is that the lining material on the floor has a join in that area and the tortoises have scratched through it and lifted it up, so I put the brick on it just to seal it down again -- but it's true that one of them especially likes to go in the little area to the right of the brick because it's more cozy. That area is far too big for both tortoises and they would have been happier with half that much. And actually they only choose to sleep in there about once a week, so it's even more of a waste of space then I'd thought.

Nina

Teddy28
Posts: 150
Joined: 06 May 2017, 10:57

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Teddy28 » 09 Feb 2020, 22:54

That's one thing I've learnt you can guarantee with a tortoise, make it nice for them and they'll vandalize it and turn everything upside down.
Boris (and little Tort his predecessor) takes great delight in getting under the lowest part of his current ramp and pushing and shoving until it collapses then looks all forlorn when he cant get to his feeding platform.
; )

CritterMama
Posts: 8
Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by CritterMama » 02 Apr 2021, 16:55

Jumping in on this discussion as we are in the process of designing an indoor enclosure for a single male Western Hermann's. I've been reading a *lot* :shock: about enclosures and I have a pretty good understanding of how to set one up (substrate, lights, humidity, plants, etc.), but I still don't have a good feel for how big to make it.

I have read everything from (paraphrasing here) "the bigger the better" (not helpful) and "a 4x8 table will hold several Hermann's comfortably" (what if you don't *want* several?) I read about one size for juveniles, but "make it bigger" for adults (again, not exactly specific). In this thread, the OP's design is 72" x 32". Nina mentioned her 7' x 2' table. I've read "Indoor Setup for Hatchling and Growing Tortoises". Then my head exploded! :oops:

So, I'm looking for some realistic advice on "how big is big enough?" for the aforementioned-yet-to-be-adopted single, male Western Hermann's (BTW, in addition to being just so darned cute ;) , I decided on this species specifically because of their small size!) Thanks in advance for your help!
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1458
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Design for new indoor emclosure

Post by Nina » 02 Apr 2021, 18:58

It's a really good question about table size, and I'm afraid that 'the bigger the better' is actually the answer, although because that's not very specific it's bound to cause uncertainty.

The reason why you should make the table as large as you can in whatever space you have is because in the wild tortoises often walk long distances. They are curious creatures and if they are enclosed in a small area they are easily bored and can get lethargic and sleep a lot. For this reason we make the table as big as our space will permit, and we put 'furniture' into the table to break up sight lines (if a tortoise can see from one end of the table to the other without interruption, he soon gets bored). So rocks, different surfaces to walk on (substrate, pebbles, etc.) plants in pots, things he has to walk over or around are all good.

My table is 7' x 2' only because it is in a room with a sofa bed, and if the table was wider than 2' then the sofa bed wouldn't open. To compensate for that I have the second level, and tortoises do love walking up a ramp to see if there are any treats for them at the top. It gives them good exercise and increases their interest. If you are going to have a second level then don't make it too big though (if I could do mine over again I would make the upper level smaller). This is because the space under the second level is sort of dead space. It's dark and so good for sleeping in, but tortoises don't actually like a large space to sleep in -- they much prefer to cram themselves into something small, and my tortoises only use that sleeping area once in a while, so most of the time it's wasted. But I would always recommend a second level because of the interest and potential for exercise that it provides.

Will you be having an outdoor enclosure as well? This is important for tortoises as they love the outdoors and the UVB from the sun is of a far higher quality then what we can provide with artificial light indoors.

I hope that goes some way towards explaining why we say 'as big as your space will allow'. I have seen really excellent 'L'-shaped tables that are designed to go around a corner in a room and therefore make good use of space, and I know someone who is designing an 'L'-shaped table for her tortoise now.

Nina

CritterMama
Posts: 8
Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: Design for new indoor enclosure

Post by CritterMama » 02 Apr 2021, 21:27

Nina wrote:
> ... you should make the table as large as you can in whatever space you have
> we say 'as big as your space will allow'.

Thank you! Finally, an answer that makes sense to me! :D Answers I've gotten from other sources told me (paraphrasing) "a *minimum* of 4' x 8' or maybe you shouldn't own a tortoise" :!: :?: :x

We don't all live in McMansions and until I get the Reptile Wing built onto our house :roll: :lol: we'll give the little guy as much room as we possibly can. Right now, it looks like 2 1/2' by 6 or 8 feet. (BTW, I'm vertically challenged, so I couldn't even *reach* across a 4' table!)

I very much like your advice about a 2nd level. DH is apparently already working on that! I told him about making it somewhat small to avoid large, dark "dead space" underneath. You mentioned his getting exercise going up there and I got an image of a little tortoise strength training room with free weights and a tiny little treadmill! But I digress!

I am once again encouraged about pursuing my dream of adding a tortoise to our menagerie. I'm a firm believer that we should do the best that we can to take care of ourselves and those we love. The rest will work itself out.
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

User avatar
Nina
Posts: 1458
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Design for new indoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 02 Apr 2021, 22:19

Ha, ha -- I love your posts.

The dimensions for your table sound great (bordering on luxurious), so I think this is one lucky tortoise that you will be adding to your family.
Have attached a couple of photos of my table. It's amazing how quickly they learn things. When I first put mine in the table, I tempted them up the ramp (which is covered in roofing felt -- this sort of sandpaper like covering that the cover sheds with, to give them a bit of traction), with a juicy dandelion flower, just out of their reach. They only needed that one lesson and they constantly run up and down that ramp to see if any delicacies have been left there for them. Actually, I tend to feed mine on the upper level, as it keeps the food from getting dragged through the substrate (but sometimes I just scatter leaves everywhere and hide them a bit so they have a bit of a treasure hunt.

Have attached a couple of photos of mine, but there are much nicer ones that have been made.

Have a lovely Easter weekend!

Nina[attachment=1]IMG_9953 (Copy).JPG[/attachment][attachment=2]m_IMG_9496.jpg[/attachment][attachment=3]m_IMG_9492.jpg[/attachment][attachment=4]m_IMG_9436.jpg[/attachment][attachment=0]IMG_1161 (Copy).JPG[/attachment]
Attachments
IMG_1161 (Copy).JPG
IMG_9953 (Copy).JPG
m_IMG_9496.jpg
m_IMG_9492.jpg
m_IMG_9436.jpg

CritterMama
Posts: 8
Joined: 21 Mar 2021, 13:43

Re: Design for new indoor enclosure

Post by CritterMama » 11 Apr 2021, 16:40

Nina wrote:
>If you are going to have a second
> level then don't make it too big though (if I could do mine over again I would make the upper level smaller). This is because the space under the
> second level is sort of dead space. It's dark and so good for sleeping in, but tortoises don't actually like a large space to sleep in -- they much
> prefer to cram themselves into something small, and my tortoises only use that sleeping area once in a while, so most of the time it's wasted.
> But I would always recommend a second level because of the interest and potential for exercise that it provides.
>
> Nina

Nina,
So, we're getting into the nitty-gritty of the design for a male Hermann's. I appreciate the pictures you posted, but now (of course!) I have some questions! 😇

First, on the second level, how much distance is there from the deck to the top ledge that I see going around the outside rim? I can't find *anything* that show measurements/dimensions of these guys from various angles - if you can point me to something, that would be great! Assuming their shells reach a length of about 13cm (about 5 inches for us stubborn Yanks!) how tall are they if they stand up on their hind legs? Can they see over that ledge?

How thick (from bottom to top) is the "deck" that you feed them on?

How much "headroom" is necessary for the hide area under the deck? You said they like to cram themselves into a small area, but I'm assuming it needs to be a certain minimum height and I don't know, (from a side view) how tall they are from feet-on-the-ground to the top of the shell. How much higher can they lift their neck and head? Oh! For a good dimension diagram!😏

Thanks for your help. The :twisted: is in the details!
Critter Mama

One Husband, one Bearded Dragon, one Panther Chameleon, one Labrador Retriever. Next up? One Hermann's Tortoise!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests