Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

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Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Pat90 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:25 pm

Hi
I am looking ahead to when my 3 year old marginated tortoise is too large to overwinter indoors. Please could you give me some ideas with regard to suitable housing, heating and light etc
Kind Regards
Pat
Pat90
 
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Sandy » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:25 pm

Pat90 wrote:Hi
I am looking ahead to when my 3 year old marginated tortoise is too large to overwinter indoors. Please could you give me some ideas with regard to suitable housing, heating and light etc
Kind Regards
Pat



Your tortoise really needs to hibernate during the Winter months. It is far better for their long term health.
My larger tortoises are kept in a heated greenhouse when extra heat is needed, from coming out of hibernation ( usually around March depending on the weather, until around the end of April, again depending on the weather. They have acscess to the outside during all this time, and through the Summer months. When it's time for hibernation (anything from Sept-to late Nov) again depending on the weather. I shut off them from getting out of the GH, and do the normal winding down time, and they bury themselves down in the soil. Popping up again in the Spring. I have done this for the last twenty odd years, and it works great.
You can also use an insulated shed on similar lines.
Sandy
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Pat90 » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:39 pm

Hi Sandy
Many thanks for getting back to me.
I do intend to hibernate Sid - this year he was living outside through the summer in a cold frame and was clearly ready to hibernate in September. Unfortunately, this took me by surprise and I had a holiday planned and could not be there to carry out the wind down. In view of this, I brought him back inside. I have taken advice previously and for his 1st hibernation a period of 8 weeks was suggested. If again he is ready for hibernation in September ( depending on our weather ) there will still be a considerable amount of time before the Spring. Looking ahead it seems that I will need a greenhouse or as you mention an insulated shed. What sort of heating do you use - inside in the tortoise table I maintain 32 degrees for basking.
Your advice is very much appreciated.

Kind Regards
Pat
Pat90
 
Posts: 10
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Sandy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:46 am

Pat90 wrote:Hi Sandy
Many thanks for getting back to me.
I do intend to hibernate Sid - this year he was living outside through the summer in a cold frame and was clearly ready to hibernate in September. Unfortunately, this took me by surprise and I had a holiday planned and could not be there to carry out the wind down. In view of this, I brought him back inside. I have taken advice previously and for his 1st hibernation a period of 8 weeks was suggested. If again he is ready for hibernation in September ( depending on our weather ) there will still be a considerable amount of time before the Spring. Looking ahead it seems that I will need a greenhouse or as you mention an insulated shed. What sort of heating do you use - inside in the tortoise table I maintain 32 degrees for basking.
Your advice is very much appreciated.

Kind Regards
Pat



To be honest, I do not monitor the temps in my GH, it's insulated with bubble wrap. It is 8ftx6ft set a footing of around six bricks high, on the normal garden soil. At the front end I have left out one length of a sideways brick, to allow my torts to come and go once they are warmed up, they quickly find their way back into the GH. I have four heat lamps in the GH, for heating. I only have adults now as I stopped breeding tortoises around six years ago. So I don't worry about UV so much as they get enough from the outside light. I did use to have UV lamps when I had small tortoises.
You will be surprised at what temps tortoises will go outside, once they have warmed up.
I live in the SE, so our temps are reasonable for tortoises. My adult males will come outside at temps of 12c, when the sun is shining, for quite a while, while the females don't:0)
I treat my tortoises as much like the wild as I can, so they do not have temps of 32c through out the day. I used to do the same with hatchlings, if I went out shopping I turned off the heat, so they only had the heat of the house for a couple of hours,then put it on again. My hatchlings used to spend all Summer outside with only a unheated coldframe as housing. They all did well.
They are far hardier than you think, monitoring weather and tortoises they can thrive.
I hope this helps:0)
Sandy
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Pat90 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:18 pm

Thanks Sandy and yes that was very helpful. I guess my concern over temperatures comes from reading so many articles that say that they need the high temperatures to digest food. Could I also ask you if I should be restricting the amount of food that Sid eats. These past few months his appetite is quite ferocious!
Kind Regards
Pat
Pat90
 
Posts: 10
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Sandy » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:05 pm

Pat90 wrote:Thanks Sandy and yes that was very helpful. I guess my concern over temperatures comes from reading so many articles that say that they need the high temperatures to digest food. Could I also ask you if I should be restricting the amount of food that Sid eats. These past few months his appetite is quite ferocious!
Kind Regards
Pat



I used to be the same, following all the info on the net. When I started keeping tortoises there was no net of any use:0)
I then rehomed A female graeca whose owner had died. She was used to hibernating on her own in the owners garden, which I then thought was wrong. Anyway after three or four years of trying to hibernate her the way the net said, and her not coming out of hibernation and eating within a week or so. I decided to let her hibernate in my GH soil and see what happened. She came out of hibernation raring to go, so I then decided tortoises know best. So now all my tortoises hibernate in the GH soil. They choose when to go down (I stop feeding them when the weather turns colder but allow them to come out and graze if they choose to) they all go down at different times, and come up at different times:0)
I always monitor my tortoises through out the year, for feeding habits, and pick them up now and again for weight loss, and for any big changes in their behaviour.
Keeping tortoises at the same heat all the time will keep them active, but in their normal habitat this does not happen, and I think they have survived for millions of years doing things their way, why do we think we know better:0)
Sandy
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Pat90 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:03 pm

Thanks Sandy for your advice it's good to sound things out with someone that has the expertise. Could you give me your thoughts on quantity of food - should it be restricted in any way as Sid seems to be gaining weight quite rapidly. In saying that his shell seems perfect.
Kind Regards
Pat
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Posts: 10
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Sandy » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:15 am

Pat90 wrote:Thanks Sandy for your advice it's good to sound things out with someone that has the expertise. Could you give me your thoughts on quantity of food - should it be restricted in any way as Sid seems to be gaining weight quite rapidly. In saying that his shell seems perfect.
Kind Regards
Pat



When my tortoises were kept inside, I only fed them once a day, and varied when I fed them. As tortoises will eat food whenever they have it available, so are easily over fed:0)
Their shells should be as smooth as a babies bottom:0)
Once my tortoises were outside I only feed now and again as they can graze weeds etc growing in the garden, so have to work for their food by finding it:0)
Sandy
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Re: Outdoor enclosure for marginated tortoise

Postby Pat90 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:57 pm

Thanks Sandy
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