Outdoor enclosure

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Cheryl
Posts: 16
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 13:54

Outdoor enclosure

Post by Cheryl » 20 Sep 2020, 11:31

Hello

A couple of weeks ago I knocked together a basic outdoor enclosure for Dumbledore so that he could spend some time safely outside with however many few nice days we have left before winter.

I’m in a rented property and am unable to throw a load of sand and topsoil around willy-nilly so I’ve done the best I can for now and Dumbledore seems to like his ‘outdoor pad’

Is there anything else I can do to add a bit more interest for him or am I over-thinking things?

His outdoor digs are 8ft x 4ft and he has a basking stone (old patio slab) and I’ve put some log roll in there to break his sight line up a bit. Can you suggest anything else I can try?

Thanks for any suggestions

Cheryl
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Nina
Posts: 1460
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 20 Sep 2020, 14:34

Cheryl, that looks absolutely brilliant!! You've done a super job and I can't think of anything to add -- you've broken up the sight lines well, put lots of little objects of interest in there, areas of light and shade, and the lid will prevent predators from coming in and him climbing out.

The only thing I would say is that it might not be entirely escape proof because it looks like the walls of the enclosure are set onto the ground. As Horsfields are a burrowing species he could easily dig under and out, so what most people do is to either bury the walls into the soil for about 8" or 10", but it's late in the year so just keep an eye on him when he is out there. He is much more likely to burrow under that nice basking slab that you've got there, and that is fine as he will love to dig under and be cozy (just don't panic if you don't see him at some point -- he will probably still be there, but cleverly hiding from you.

Nina

Cheryl
Posts: 16
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 13:54

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Cheryl » 20 Sep 2020, 15:11

Hi Nina

Thanks for the reply. You’ve got my brain ticking over now as his previous owner told me that he is a Hermann, however I’ve been looking at pictures for the last couple of weeks to try and confirm this and I’m not 100% convinced he is! However I’m so new at this you could probably give me a rock and tell me it’s a tortoise and I might just believe you!

As for the enclosure, yes it is just set on the ground for now to make grass cutting easier.
Dumbledore is never put out if nobody is home so if he does burrow out he (hopefully!) won’t get too far if my ‘tortoise watcher’ (my mother :D) is paying close enough attention :D

Any advice you could give with regards to ID would be great, thanks again for all your help so far.

Cheryl

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Nina
Posts: 1460
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 20 Sep 2020, 17:03

Hi Cheryl,

Your first post in the other thread said you'd acquired a Hermann's and I didn't question that, but at the end of that thread you posted a photo of him, and by that time I'd sort of forgot about the species and didn't really pick up on it -- so sorry for that.

I'm almost 100% sure that he is a Horsfield, but just to confirm it, can you send us a close-up of him, looking straight down from the top? One thing that distinguishes Horsfields from other tortoises, aside from colouring, is the fact that they are much more circular in shape, rather than oval. This is because when they dig a tunnel (which is obviously just as wide as they are), when they reach the end they can turn around and come back out again easily, but if they were oval it would be more difficult. Anyway he does look quite Horsfield-like both in shape and colouring from what I can see, but I could be misinterpreting as most of the photos are from a little distance, so a nice close-up looking down (and one from the side too) would be great.

Nina

Cheryl
Posts: 16
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 13:54

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Cheryl » 20 Sep 2020, 17:49

Hi Nina

I’ve had my doubts too and as the owner didn’t pass on his certificate I just took his word for it. However there has been a doubt in the back of my mind since the beginning.

Dumbledore has put himself to bed for the night now so I will be sure to get some pictures in the morning and post them here for you.

I know he has an almost totally black plastron with thin yellow lines in a pattern underneath so I’ll get a picture of that too.

Thanks again

Cheryl

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Nina
Posts: 1460
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 20 Sep 2020, 18:17

Well that would fit in, because although Hermann's have to have an Article 10 certificate, because they are listed in Annex A on CITES, Horsfields are listed in Annex B and don't need a certificate. Let's wait for tomorrow and see what happens. I'll be out all morning but will be back mid-afternoon.

Cheers,
Nina

Cheryl
Posts: 16
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 13:54

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Cheryl » 21 Sep 2020, 09:08

Hi Nina

Pics are below for you. The one of his underside is a bit dodgy - trying to take a pic of an un-co-operative tort one-handed is clearly a challenge!

Thanks again for your help

Cheryl
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Nina
Posts: 1460
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Nina » 21 Sep 2020, 13:34

Yup, definitely a Horsfield. Here's a new care sheet for you:
https://www.tortoise-protection-group.o ... 014New.pdf

The care will be pretty much the same, the only difference being that Horsfields are known for having a stronger hibernation instinct than some of the other species, they can tolerate colder temperatures in hibernation better than some (but don't take risks), and they are a burrowing species and so love nothing more than to disappear into the ground if you look away for two minutes, and then they enjoy watching you panic because you think they have escaped, or a giant eagle has come down out of the sky and taken them (and they are great climbers too). The good news is that they have really great personalities (but then you've discovered that already).

Just out of curiosity, where did the previous owner get him (just wondering why they thought he was a Hermann's)?

And finally here is an interesting piece of information. They are called Horsfield tortoises because they are named after Dr Thomas Horsfield, a 19th Century naturalist who travelled the world discovering new species of plants and animals (and that is why there is no 'e' in Horsfield -- everyone seems to be misspeling it Horsefield nowadays).

Nina

Cheryl
Posts: 16
Joined: 28 Aug 2020, 13:54

Re: Outdoor enclosure

Post by Cheryl » 21 Sep 2020, 16:21

Hi Nina

Well what can I say?! It’s good to have my suspicions confirmed so I can make sure I’m prepared for the over-wintering ahead of me :shock:
I don’t know where his previous owner got him from, I would assume a pet shop judging by his previous care.

Looks like my enclosure plans for next year are going to need some tweaks to allow for the tunnelling - interestingly he doesn’t burrow inside his indoor enclosure, he prefers to sleep in the corner of the table at night, although he does enjoy trying to climb out - a lot!

Thanks so much for all your help, I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions!

Cheryl

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