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How to set up the perfect tortoise habitat
Is setting up an ideal Tortoise habitat really that hard – you ask? Well, not if you learn on what features you should focus to when trying to make your tortoise happy. And this article will give you exactly that – tips on building a dream tortoise house, so stick with us. No matter if you’ve been keeping a pet tortoise for years now, or you’ve just decided to bring this cute little pet into your home, there is always more to learn.
Even though there are different types of tortoises, we want to talk about some general rules for setting up an indoor tortoise habitat, such as light, humidity, a basking area, etc. These rules can also be applied when setting up Russian tortoise habitats, or Desert tortoise habitats.
As for the outdoor enclosure and keeping a tortoise in your yard, choose wisely the type of a tortoise. Some people who want to keep an outdoor tortoise don’t know which type to choose, and they choose Galapagos tortoise, which usually turns out to be a mistake. So, when it comes to keeping Galapagos tortoise, make sure to read some guides on keeping Galapagos tortoise as a pet, because this type requires a lot of time and money, therefore it’s rare to see this tortoise as a pet.
In case you want an outdoor tortoise, go with the sulcate tortoise, as it is easy to take care of, and building an outdoor sulcate tortoise habitat won’t cost you much.
Now, let’s see how to create an ideal tortoise habitat indoor:
- Buy a tortoise terrarium
First and foremost, you have to realize that only a tortoise cage or a tortoise enclosure is an adequate option for your pet. So, you’re going to need a tank that is specifically designed for indoor tortoises – a tortoise terrarium. No matter whether your tortoise is a baby or an older one, you have to choose a spacious tank/enclosure, so that your pet can enjoy his freedom and take a walk whenever he wants.
- UVA and UVB lights
Next, lights. In order to be healthy, your tortoise has to have much light, both UVA, and UVB. You’ll have to buy artificial lights with a timer because that way you’ll be able to mimic natural light cycles. These lights will enhance your turtle’s health because they help in the production of vitamin D3, greater absorption of calcium, increasing appetite and giving your tortoise more energy so that he can be active. Put the lights outside of the terrarium house, so that your pet can’t burn. Also, you have to create a basking area for your tortoise, as he enjoys spending a half of the day basking.
- The water
When it comes to the water area, make sure to place a bowl with water so that your tortoise can cool off comfortably. But, the water must not be too deep, otherwise, your pet can drown, as tortoises, unlike turtles, can’t swim. In addition, a tank should have a tortoise water heater in order to keep the water at an optimal level, since most tortoises will need nice water temperature (around 85 degrees F). There are tortoise heat lamps and tortoise tank heaters. The first one will allow you to control the temperature of the air, while the second one won’t.
- Get a filter
What better way to keep a tortoise habitat clean and healthy than with a filter. There are many types of filters on the market, but there is a general rule to follow – always choose a larger filter. Thanks to this, the filter will be capable of keeping a tortoise house clean and your tortoise won’t get sick, due to the filthy environment.
- Tank topper
A tortoise topper is a smart way to make your pet happy and warm. The topper should be installed on top of a tortoise tank and should create a place for your tortoise to bask on. Make sure to buy an adjustable and stable basking area that comes with a mesh to stop your dearest pet from exploring the outside world.
When setting up Tortoise habitat indoors, it’s important to constantly monitor the humidity in your house. Your apartment should not be pre-heated or under heated, as this can make your tortoise sick.
- Plants and decoration items
Adding plants and decoration items in a tank/enclosure will not only contribute to the great looks, but it will also make your tortoise happier. He will have a lot of fun walking around plants and will be able to climb on a dock. Use only live plants, because they help in creating cleaner air and keeping humidity at a good level. Also, add rocks, driftwood, and a substrate in a tortoise tank, so that your pet can enjoy its life completely.
Choosing the best tortoise house
1. Zoo Med Wood Tortoise House
In case you aren’t interested in building an enclosure for your new pet, then this is the best habitat for your land tortoise that you can find. Or perhaps you want to build a tortoise habitat but you’re new to their world and don’t quite know how to do that. Well, with this tortoise house, you will set up the perfect house for your new pet, in a very short time. Let’s see what makes this product a valuable choice.
First, it’s designed in such a way that you can use wood siding to create extra space for your tortoise. The enclosure is big enough so that your pet can have privacy and plenty of space to walk. You can put this enclosure in your yard or in a garden if you want to treat your pet with basking in natural sunlight. This enclosure is weatherproof, so your pet will be safe and sound, when outside.
No doubt that your tortoise will sleep soundly because this enclosure is that safe.
As mentioned, you won’t have any troubles with setting up this enclosure, since wood siding is easy to connect. However, do keep in mind that the directions aren’t very detailed.
- Great pre-made habitat
- Ideal for new tortoise owners
- Offers privacy
- Can be placed outdoor
- Set up is fast and easy
- Confusing instructions
2. Exo Terra Faunarium Medium
If you are looking for a temporary housing for your baby tortoise, this may be just the thing you need. This tortoise house makes easy work of Tortoise care, and your cute pet will enjoy every second of his day, in this lovely terrarium.
This terrarium is of medium size (measuring 14 x 8 x 6 inches), but it provides enough room for your tortoise to move freely and comfortably. On top of it, you can place UVA/UVB light in order to ensure artificial light that your pet very much needs.
The Plastic door will give you easy access to your pet, whether you have to feed it or to clean the terrarium.
What we love about this product is its design. It offers great ventilation, so your pet will breathe fresh air all the time.
Made of quality plastic, this tortoise terrarium is sturdy and reliable, so you can transfer it with ease.
In addition, the lid is firm and will fit perfectly, so you don’t have to worry about your tortoise escaping.
On the downside, the color isn’t as described in the product’s descriptions. Instead of being clear, the color is a bit orange. However, this is not a big deal. All in all, this unit is worth the money, as it is spacious, sturdy, reliable and secure.
- Medium size
- Temporary housing
- Comes with lid that fits tightly
3. Exo Terra Faunarium Large
In case you are looking for a way to transfer your tortoise so that it can be your companion, wherever you go, you should go with this Exo TERRA Terrarium. This model is like the previous one, only this one is larger, thus it’s great for the older tortoise.
You can easily transfer this unit to your car, or wherever else you may want, because it’s sturdy and trustworthy. This model is made of sturdy plastic, thus it’s sure to last for many years. This means, that buying this unit is definitely a smart decision. In addition, this product comes at a very affordable price, therefore is a good choice if you are on a budget.
As far as cleaning is concerned, you don’t have to worry about that. In fact, cleaning this great tortoise house will be a breeze, thanks to the plastic door.
With dimensions of 18 x 12 x 6.5 inches, this house offers enough space for a tortoise.
However, the downfall is that the top is complicated to remove. Also, the unit should come with a divider.
- Easy to clean
- Easy to move
- The top is difficult to remove
4. Glass Terrarium for Tortoise by Penn-Plax
If you are willing to spend a lot of money on a high-quality and nicely-looking tortoise house, this is the way to go. Both you and your pet will be thrilled to have this amazing terrarium. It’s constructed with durability in mind, so rest assured that this product is worth every single penny. Plus, it will pay off in the long run, as you won’t have to buy a new tortoise house for quite some time.
Made of superior glass and with a sturdy frame, this unit will provide protection to your tortoise. Your pet will live comfortably and will be happy in this home. When you add some plants and decoration items, this tank will look just amazing, making you proud.
In addition, this unit offers good ventilation, as it has a mesh on top.
As for the lights, you can place them on top of the tank. They will be at a safe distance from your pet so that it won’t get burned, but the lights will still provide enough UVA and UVB light. Thanks to this, your tortoise will be very healthy, and in a good mood.
Measuring 48 x 30 x 12 inches, it is safe to say that this is a large tank for your tortoise. Because of this, you have enough room to add all the items your tortoise needs and wants, so that he can feel safe and be happy.
On the downside, this tank is expensive, thus its’ not a good choice for those on a budget.
- Good ventilation
5. UP U-Power Habitat for tortoises
In case you don’t want a regular house for your tortoise, but you’re looking for something more interesting, you will simply adore this one-of-a-kind tortoise house. With 360°transparent design, you must admit that this habitat is everything except “ordinary”. Plus, it comes at a great price, considering its design and the looks.
The unit comes with dry-wet thermograph and a platform. You won’t have to bother with the installation, as the unit is ready to use right away. This makes it an ideal choice for those of you who are new to the world of tortoises and don’t know anything about the installation of a tortoise house.
This house’s design may look a bit confusing, but don’t worry, it is functional and safe for your pet. You can open it for easy and fast cleaning, and when you need to feed your tortoise. On the other hand, your pet will stay in this house, as it is designed with safety in mind.
As for the downside, the unit isn’t very spacious (it measures only 12.2 x 8 .67 x 7.5 inches).
- Unique design
- Comes with accessories
- No need to install
- Easy to clean
- You will feed your pet with ease
- Ideal for beginners
- Not very spacious
Types of tortoises
These tortoises are a great choice to keep as pets since their native environment isn’t so hard to mimic (compared to creating a habitat for desert or rainforest tortoises). The most common type that hobbyists keep as pets is Hermann’s tortoise. It’s a friendly tortoise and herbivore, thus it’s easy to take care of.
Russian tortoises belong to Eurasian species, and are very popular as pets. They also adjust to various conditions, and they love to burrow. This type of tortoise is very small as they can only reach around 7 inches. Another type is the Indian star tortoise and is well-known for its unique black and off-white markings. However, this type is suitable only for experienced tortoise keepers. Besides, it is very pricey.
Many types of pet tortoises originate from the areas of Africa (whether it be the desserts, forests, or savannah). The most common pet types of these species are the African spurred tortoise, leopard tortoise, and African forest hinge-back tortoise.
African spurred tortoise is an active tortoise who eats a lot (like, really a lot). Furthermore, it tends to burrow. It is the third biggest tortoise on the planet, so you’ll have to create a large enclosure if you want to keep this tortoise as a pet.
Leopard tortoise is smaller than the previous type, but lives in a very hot environment (about 90 degrees F) and is a tad complicated to keep as a pet. Because of that, it’s recommended only for experienced tortoise keepers.
African forest hinge-back tortoise is a unique tortoise and it is famous for closing the back of the plastron in order to protect legs and tail. It requires lots of shade, water, and a big basking area.
South American tortoises
These species are most common to be kept as pets, since they look gorgeous, especially the red-footed tortoise. This tortoise doesn’t require too much care, as is capable of adjusting to different conditions. These tortoises can be found in South and Central America, and they are protected species, therefore should be only picked up with the help of a breeder.
How long do tortoises live?
As mentioned, there are many types of tortoises, therefore it’s not surprising that they have a different lifespan. But, it must not be forgotten that tortoises are land animals with the longest lifespan, so they get the chance to live for more than 100 years.
For example, Galapagos tortoises usually live over 150 years, other types live from 80 – 150 years, while Aldabra giant tortoise called Adwaita is the oldest one (it’s 255 years old).
What do tortoises eat?
Contrary to what some people think, fruits isn’t a good choice, when it comes to feeding your tortoise. Since fruits are full of sugar, it can have a negative impact on your tortoise’s health (it can damage the function of a tortoise’s organs).
Generally speaking, your pet’s diet should be low in protein, low in fat, low in phosphorus, high in calcium, fiber, and other minerals. The largest part of a tortoise’s diet should consist of leafy green plants. Tortoises enjoy having a diverse diet, so make sure to give them what they want and need.