Animal Information

Housing Tortoises Using Tortoise Tables and Yards

While keeping a tortoise indoors is not the preferred option, you can provide the proper type of enclosure to make it more acceptable. For all captive animals, it is ideal to provide a home as similar to the animal’s natural environment as possible.

This is especially true for tortoises. Tortoises are generally best kept in outdoor pens in climates similar to their natural environment. 

Tortoise tables allow excellent air flow and a low humidity level; which is ideal for the Mediterranean, African and Russian tortoises. Tortoise tables allow excellent air flow and a low humidity level; which is ideal for the Mediterranean, African and Russian tortoises.

Lighting Is Important For Tortoises…

One of the biggest problems with indoor housing is providing adequate floor space. Remember that most tortoises get quite large and are very strong. So a correspondingly large enclosure is needed. In addition, you’ll want something that is relatively easy to clean and that gives you the ability to set up different temperature zones for the tortoise.

Click to purchase this tortoise table

Ultraviolet light and heat sources should be spaced to create a thermal gradient. This provides warmer and cooler areas for turtle thermoregulation. Plants and rocks can be used to provide a variety of microclimates.

In the wild, most reptiles are able to synthesize vitamin D3 from the UV in sunlight. Together with proper heat, this vitamin helps turtles metabolize dietary calcium. Many chelonians extract a large percentage of their daily vitamin D3 from food, but food alone is inadequate. So, chelonians housed indoors are highly dependent upon sufficient amounts of artificial lighting.

A UVB source helps turtles synthesize vitamin D3. Mercury vapor bulbs may fulfill both basking warmth and UVB requirements, but be aware that no bulb is as effective as sunlight in supplying vital UVB. All enclosure lighting is best located at the opposite end from the hiding areas. As stated earlier, this helps provide the best temperature gradient.

Skip the Aquarium

A glass tank is the not the best option for tortoise housing. Likewise, for the majority of aquatic turtles, even the largest glass tanks are just too small and have poor ventilation. Big tanks are also hard to maneuver and clean.

Tortoises need lots of floor space for roaming around.

Unless the tank is very large, providing a proper temperature gradient for a tortoise is too difficult in a glass tank. In addition, tortoises seem to prefer non-transparent enclosures because they feel very exposed and vulnerable with glass-sided tanks and often spend a lot of time trying to push through the transparent glass as well.

Turtle Tables

A homemade wooden enclosure is usually the preferred method for indoor housing. You will see these called turtle tables or tortoise tables. Essentially, these are a large wooden box with lots of floor space and fairly short sides. Typically, UVA/UVB lighting and heat lamps can be suspended over the wooden enclosure to provide the light and heat needs. Some sort of shallow water supply is also necessary.

Housing exotic species together presents a problem regarding the disease. Housing species with drastically different habit needs or lodging carnivores with herbivores can lead to disaster. Knowing the native ecosystem of your animal is critical. Many habitats vary in temperature, humidity, and photoperiod.

$199.99 Penn Plax Tortoise Palace with Wire Top, Black Frame and Glass Terrarium

  • It is constructed of high-quality moisture resistant MDF
  • Its dimensions are approximately 48-inch by 30-inch by 12-inch
  • It is ideal for greek, Russian and other tortoise species

Pennplax Tortoise Palace Stand

  • It is constructed of high-quality moisture resistant MDF
  • Its dimensions are approximately 48-inch by 30-inch by 29
  • It is ideal for greek, Russian and other tortoise species

Go Natural Or Line Your Table!

Make your organic soil using mulch, topsoil, and coconut husk. Terrarium liners provide pet owners with a safe, easy to clean substrate alternative.

This material is constructed with a durable, absorbent material that will not irritate the skin of your reptile or amphibian pet.

This substrate is also easy to clean because you simply rinse with hot water and then allow it to air dry. The material lasts.

Many manufactured substrates, particularly those made of hard plastic, are harsh on reptiles’ undersides and feet and can eventually lead to skin irritation and puncture wounds.

Other Options

For smaller tortoises, some owners use plastic storage containers.

These have the advantage of being quite lightweight (so they are easy to clean) and they come in pretty large sizes.

However, they do have tall sides, so ventilation may become an issue. Cutting down the sides or drilling holes for ventilation are options to modify them.

You Should Occasionally Provide Outdoor Light… Even For Indoor Tortoises                                              

It is imperative that the tortoise has adequate shade/shelter from the elements. The best place for the outdoor run/house is in an area with as much all day sun as possible, with well-drained soil. Tortoises love to dig and bury so a sand and soil mix is an excellent substrate. Hides, a water dish and other features such as wooden bridges and edible plants such as dandelions can be added to the enclosure.

Tortoises do, however, have predators such as large birds, foxes, and other pets. This means that no matter what style of outdoor accommodation you choose, you need to ensure that a wire mesh lid is fitted for the safety of your tortoise.

$199.99 64″ Wooden Outdoor Hutch Playpen with Run and Enclosed Cover

✔ COMPACT FOOTPRINT: Its compact, low footprint design easily fits a smaller space. This rabbit starter kit makes small animal ownership possible without sacrificing a whole lot of room!

✔ WELL DESIGNED: Designed with your pet in mind, the corner enclosed area is designed for privacy and rest while the extra-large run offers a more open style built for play.

✔ EASILY ACCESSIBLE: We’ve made things simple for you with a side door and top section that can be opened and closed for easy access to the inside space for cleaning, feeding, and other routine tasks.

✔ WEATHER RESISTANT: Made of durable weather resistant fir wood and a water-resistant composite asphalt roof, this rabbit hutch will keep your furry friends dry and safe for years to come.

✔ OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 63.75″ L x 63.75″ W x 24″ H

  • Mesh cover folds open on both sides
  • Metal hinges and hard plastic latches on doors and clips to secure cover (included)
  • Side door for additional access
  • Folds up for easy storage
  • Compatible with various Trixie rabbit hutches

$84.99 Outdoor Run with Mesh Cover

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