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Escape-proof & etc.


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#1 GretaBox

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:36 AM

I am planning to get started on my EBT's outdoor enclosure in the next couple of weeks and I needed some help, which is why I have started this thread! LOL. :P

I live in a townhouse that has a darn HOA attached to it, and though the yard is inside the fenced backyard, my BF is a bit paranoid about an enclosure for her, He is worried the HOA doc. says something about no animal enclosures or what not visible in the yard. Frankly, I think he is just being, well, super-paranoid, because everyone in the neighborhood is so nice and I think if we make something that looks more similar to an attractive raised garden bed, but for the turtle, then it won't be so bad.

Also, other than wanting it to look attractive to distract the eye from it being a pen, he wants it to really try more easily be converted in some way incase he sells it at some point, but hopefully not TOO expensive, since he is paying for it. Since he technically is the one who owns the house, I need to try my best to build something in a way that suits him too, but the man is making it hard for me to wrap my brain around how to do everything and so I need help.

Here is a pic I have posted on here before about what I want the enclosure to be (Bare bones description):

Posted Image

-Okay, so along the fence line behind that tree on the short side next to the gate and on the long side (right side) all the way down the fence, I need a way to completely dig-proof it so there is no chance Greta can escape, since as all turtles, she is quite the digger. How do I do this?

-The long side where I drew the border of the area, What materials do you suggest to use and how far into the ground do they need to be dug in? He doesn't want to use wood (even though that is the cheapest and easiest material to find for this kind of thing...) On the opposite side of the yard, along the fence line, I am planning a veggie garden and we want to use the same materials to border that as well as the EBT pen, so it looks uniform. Stone is expensive I think, but that is the only thing I can think of.

-Also how HIGH should the border be so she can't climb out?

-What type of dirt or soil or substrate, do you recommend for the floor of the pen? How deep?

-Is there anyway to squirrel/bird-proof a bit without adding a top to the pen? (Though she does eat her food pretty fast)

-How about reducing mosquitos, since she needs a water source to go drink from and bathe in?


Hmm, I think that is all the questions I have for now. I'll probably add more if I think of anything. I am planning on bringing her in nightly because of the fact that I am not going to have a top on the pen, and so even though the only pests I see around are squirrels, I don't want to take any chances with nocturnal predators. Also, so I can check her over thoroughly to make sure she is okay. Thankfully, I am usually home the majority of the day and from the deck on the mainfloor it is easy to just go outside and peek on her.

Anyways, sorry for the long post! Thanks for the help!

~GB

#2 Smile4Katie

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 05:07 AM

Are you still wanting opinions on this? It kinda stinks that no one ever answered you, but I have some thoughts if you are interested :)

#3 GretaBox

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 06:18 AM

Haha, thanks! Yes, any input would be awesome, even though right now, we decided to re-sod the backyard and after the lawn is established, to possibly work on Greta's enclosure then. We were thinking of doing something like a retaining wall with stone to give the look of a raised bed and so we'd raise the stone on the backside of the enclosure (along the fence-line) as well.

Now, we decided instead of making the enclosure start from those rocks under the deck all the way down the fence under the tree on the back part of the yard, we are going to stop her enclosure right after the second Hosta right before the tree. (the Hosta kinda blends in in the pic cus of all the weeds)

It will make the enclosure a lot smaller, but the dimensions of that sized set up is already ~ 8'X 3'. Definitely big enough. We were going to dig whatever material we were going to get into the ground 6" and have it up 8" high above the ground. We are trying to look for a material that has a smooth back side for the inside of the 'wall' so she can't get footholds and climb out.

Any suggestions are definitely welcome, though I don't know exactly how we are going to proceed for now. The final decisions on everything is to go to my BF, I am the pitcher of ideas, LOL.

~GB

#4 animal kingdom2

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 08:58 PM

Looks like a great place for a boxie, and what pretty colors Greta has! You should put block down a good 12 inches below soil for digging, and 12-18" high above. Block, stacked rocks or "castlestone" retaining blocks work great for building a nice enclosure. Plants and flowers that are natural to your area and good for Greta will make a nice area that no HOA should complain about.

#5 GretaBox

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:01 AM

We will see how it will turn out I guess. BF is not gonna want to go all out with the best specifications for how the wall should be placed in and out of the ground (dunno why exactly, probably paranoid for no reason? grr.), but he at least understands why I want to do this project and is pretty willing try to help me out as much as he can. I am unfortunately very dependent on him for this project.

We looked at something similar to castle stone in Home Depot. It looked like the back part where it interlocks had potential "footholds" that Greta could potentially climb up, if I could stack the stone higher it might not be a problem but..

Ughhhh siighh.. I will just have to give you all updates, cus I have to work with Mr. Stubborn here and don't know what will happen till it actually happens...

Thanks so much for suggestions so far and sorry for the whinyness! :P

~GB

Edited by GretaBox, 26 April 2010 - 07:02 AM.


#6 Samsonite

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:12 AM

Here's an idea for the "digging out problem", that will not compromise the look of your pen. You can buy some of that chicken wire/hardware cloth. Its like a thin metal "mesh". Dig down and lay it across the ground under the pen, stretching all the way to where the pen walls will be. Fold the edges up to make "walls" that just reach the surface. Then bury it under a nice thick layer of dirt your turtle can play in. Now she cant dig out, and you don't see an ugly bottom. :) This will still allow water drainage, and yummy bug entry as well! (if you build a wood frame this mesh can be stapled directly onto its bottom surface)


As for not wanting her to climb out of the pen but avoiding a true lid, any kind of wall is ok, provided it has a "lip" at the top. That could be arranged somehow in the way you stack your rock. That way if she does get to the top, she will go "oh no,there is a ceiling here", and cant go horizontal to get around it. Another idea, is to make the pen out of wood, build a tiny lip for it... Then stack pretty rock on the outside, hiding your wood completely. If seeing wood walls on the inside surface at the back of the pen is an issue, you could try to somehow get ivy to grow over it, or hide with hostas and such.

edit: just a thought. does your homeowner association have a website, where you could look up their rules? maybe the bf is mistaken, and seeing a list of rules will help. :)

Edited by Samsonite, 26 April 2010 - 08:13 AM.


#7 GretaBox

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 08:34 AM

To be honest I think he is being just a BIT paranoid about HOA. If it looks nice and is structurally sound I seriously doubt HOA would care, they would only care f someone would complain probably, which no one around here has ever shown signs of being upset at our backyard and it looks terrible right now. Anything we do can only be an improvement at this point.

I think your idea might work.

Now we just have to wait another month to get that done since our backyard is currently being dug up for laying sod. and we need to wait for sod to settle before really working in the space.

I am so impatient to start :P

~GB

#8 Michael Bird

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 10:35 AM

Once you have your final design worked out, it might be a good idea to take the design to the HOA for approval. There may be rules or restrictions that you're not aware of and it would be frustrating to finish the project and then have someone come and tell you that you need to take it out and rebuild it. They may deny the project completely as well if their rules really do say that you can't have any outdoor animal pens, but if those are in fact the rules, then building the pen could get you in trouble anyway as soon as someone notices it. It's very possible that the wording of the rules is intended to prevent ugly dog-run type cages. If that is the case, the HOA folks can give you instructions on what you specifically can and cannot do with your turtle pen. If you can show them that you are building it in an attractive way they might approve it even if they normally have a rule against animal pens.

Also, although a covered lid would definitely make the pen stand out more as an animal enclosure, if there is ANY chance of predators in the area, you really should make sure it is covered so that nothing can get in to hurt your turtle.

#9 GretaBox

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:23 PM

^^ one of the things BF is worried about with HOA. That is why we are trying to make it into something that can be converted to a raised flower bed. I am bringing Greta in at night since I can't keep an eye on her while its night time. I agree, the worst and most frustrating thing would be to have to alter or change it or take it down when we worked so hard on it. I hate HOAs, haha. I was very lucky that living with my parents, the neighborhood isn't part of an HOA, but I didn't have a pen outside for Greta there either.

~GB




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