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Tips for enclosure?

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#1 HerpDerp


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Posted 31 August 2011 - 08:39 PM

I've seen a lot of different enclosures here, but I was hoping for some advice on one of my own. I currently live in an apartment and have a large tupperware container I keep my turtle in (basking area, pool of water, silk plants, and a place to hide in), but I want to have a nice, big enclosure for him.
The place I have moved to has a large balcony that I can have an enclosure on. I want to get a carpenter to make an enclosure for me, and was wondering what dimensions I could give him. Here are some things about my turtle and what I am looking for:
1 Eastern Box Turtle, Male (really pretty fire-red markings)
I would like a tray that pulls out where I can easily dump out old bedding and replace it with clean, new bedding.
I also would like it on wheels.

I'm a new teacher and don't really have a lot of money to spend on a 300 dollar or so cage, but I do invest what I can in the well being of my little turtle. So, when he asks what dimensions I'll need for the turtle, what should I tell him?

Also, where could I get REAL plants that my turtle will eat and enjoy? I've tried transplanting weeds and things like that in the cage I have (yes, I do have heat, UVA, and UVB lamps) but they always die... I thought maybe it's the tropical soil I use, but I'm hesitant to use real soil or fertilizer-rich soil from hardware stores because I don't want my turtle to be poisoned. So what is the safe thing to do in this instance? I'd like to try some "test planting" in my current cage while I have the enclosure built.

#2 lynnedit


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Posted 31 August 2011 - 09:36 PM

I don't have a boxie, but you can use this web site for safe plants, both indoor and out:
For an either an inside or balcony enclosure you can leave them in the pots and submerge the pot in the substrate. Watering the plants help keeps the area more humid. If you are using a balcony, outdoor plants will do better with natural light. Use the soil you find works and is safe for your tort.
They always say with size, as big as you can make it. Sort of depends on the size of your tort (length of shell). 6'x3' is nice, but again, the size of your tort would help calculate that. If you plan ahead, make it large enough to accommodate an adult.
Also, if out on the balcony, make sure it doesn't bake, but has part in shade, depending on where you live.
Not being a carpenter, can't help much with the drawer, but sounds like an interesting idea.
Make the height of the sides at least twice the length of your tort.
Also, if outside, protection from birds/predators, etc., might be needed, but not necessarily.

Edited by lynnedit, 31 August 2011 - 09:39 PM.

#3 clemmysnut


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 03:57 AM

To add what Lynnedit said, you can put a bookcase on its back (with the shelves removed as a pen). Its called a "tortoise table" around the forum.

#4 HerpDerp


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:17 AM

My turtle is a fully grown male Eastern Box Turtle, about 5-6 inches long from head to tail. Thanks for the sizes, since the carpenter will need them.
I've looked at the bookshelf idea, but with the balcony I have, it wouldn't work so well. I'm on the second floor, so I need something I can dump out really easily, since I'll have to take out the tray, take it downstairs, and then dump it near a drainage ditch.

So, about 6 feet long, 3 feet wide, and probably 2.5 feet tall or so. The bookshelf does seem like a very cost effective design, but I'd like something that I can use for a few years and take around with me if I move. Since I live in NC (where the EBT is the state reptile :-) ), it gets kind of cold in the winter, so the wheels will help when I need to bring him inside on those cold nights it gets below 50.

Also, Lynn, that page doesn't seem to work. I get a 404 error when I try to view it. The server says the page cannot be found.

Thanks for your help!

Edit: The balcony is on the second floor, as mentioned. Do hawks prey on turtles? Probably the only thing that could get him would be a hawk. It would be rather hard for a raccoon, possum, cat, etc to crawl up, since the side of the building is brick with the balcony about 15 feet up in the air.

Edited by HerpDerp, 01 September 2011 - 04:24 AM.

#5 lynnedit


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 07:24 AM

I will try to re post the safe plant web site.
Have you seen this care sheet for boxies (hope it works)

safe plants:
and click on 'database' for different categories. You can also email them if you have specific plant questions. (if that link does not work, it is 'The Tortoise Table', you could google it).

Regarding size/cleaning; what about lining up some trays side by side (cat litter trays, smaller rectangular storage containers), perhaps 4-5-6, and having the carpenter build a frame to enclose them? then you can remove individual trays and have various different substrates/plants. I didn't think this up,but it is a neat idea. For shade, you can have a hinged lid covering 1/4 or so on one side.
Calculate the width so it can get through your patio door to bring inside if you need to (to move it, etc.).

You could just have bird netting on the balcony railing over the enclosure. that would be enough to deter a larger bird.

Edited by lynnedit, 01 September 2011 - 07:24 AM.

#6 center5150


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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:54 PM

well... a carpenter is going to run your cost up very quickly... while not exactly a carpenter... im not seeing the drawer being a great ideai mean it is in a sense it works reallly well for smaller animals, but with a turtle your normally talking about such a enclosure... the size is counter productive. have you thought about just doing a vivarium? as far as plants... just stick with hostas dandelions maybe sum lettuces they offer good coverage theyre cheap (i dont know what age you are teaching but seed cups lettuce might be fun for the kids)... but with a vivarium theres really no need to change the substrate often, keep worms (night crawlers red wigglers) and pill bugs (rolly pollies) theyres not much danger of escape and they should keep the tank healthy... and a book case laid on its back, with a shower curtain liner would be easily done... cheap top soil (home depot in my area has it for 98 cents a bag right now) is sandy, so its digging friendly, spaguhm moss is cheap and will feed the pill bugs and plants as well as hold lots of water... it be low maintenance and easy. check craigs list for old bookshelves and your set... also a shower curtain could be gotten for ... 6 bucks at lowes so if your just doing a little bedding for it, you pick up the whole shower curtain and throw it out in those nice big trashcans the school has. and that will save you allot of money. id suggest asking around the school maybe another teacher, or a teachers spouse will be a carpenter if your wanting something nice and custom good luck on whatever you end up with... i have an enclosure i just made for my ebt i ran at 100 dollars (there abouts) i used scraps to build it... it still would have come in at under 300 in materials if id had to buy the stuff to make it... the problem would youd run into would be the cost of the carpenter... granted a carpenter would have made a much prettier end product... the labor cost add up very quickly... the laid over bookcase is by far the easiest and cheapest bet for you... good luck... hope it turns out well... maybe multiple drawers would work... hmm

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