Indoor Housing

24/08/2012 15:04

Over the years when hatchlings have gone to new owners I have always tried my best to help with indoor housing.Some I have rescued have been in Vivariums which are no good at all because for one thing they don't get any fresh air which can cause respiritory problems and also the heat is far too hot for our climate and when the tortoise is then put into the garden it will either try and hibernate imediately because it thinks winter has arrived or it won't come out of its outdoor enclosure and will slowly die through lack of food etc.I have always advocated an OPEN   indoor enclosure so that there is fresh air and the torotise will get used to the English climate that goes up and down daily. This means that when your tortoise goes into the garden full time year 5 it is hardened off completely to the climate  and will settle well into its new enclosure. So, for indoors I recommend an indoor rabbit hutch ( about 3 1/2 feet long )that is plastic so it  is easy to clean and transport from house to garden on a hot day.Because it has a metal mesh lid this can be removed indoors and clipped on for the garden for peace of mind.This way should you want to go out you know your baby tortoise is safe.It also has a tunnel at one end which is good for shade and bedtime.  To go with this you need an  Exo Terra Sola Glo bulb 160watt ,this is heat ,light and most importantly Uva/Uvb for calcium absorbtion.  You put  the bulb in a large clamp lamp  holder by Exo Terra  and suspend this  AT LEAST   12" from the base of the housing and by this I mean the bottom of the bulb not the bulb holder. If done this way should your tortoise turn itself over it will not burn!! You turn this on in the morning and off again at night about 10-12 hours is fine. Of course if the tortoise has been in the garden for the day you obviously switch the lamp off. Other than that you need Lime stone flour which I have  already talked about, a water dish ,floor substrate which can be top soil, Herbifloor or even  a roll of turf which if kept sprayed works really well too. Some pebbles or slate to put around the water dish so it is easy to get in and out and some cutlle fish. That is about it, the bulb is not cheap but is guarenteed  for 6 months so keep the box .This is THE most important thing for good growth of the Carapace.I have tried many things on the floor over the years and have found good old top soil works well or even your own soil as they will be walking on this when they go into your garden. Please do not use hay or straw indoors as it can get into their little eyes. I do use hay for when they hibernate in their out door housing but by then they are so much bigger. Of course if you like them you can have the indoor tortoise tables which are lovely but as they are made of wood can be heavy and hard to move. They can also rot at  the base if not lined. This is all up to the individual and all I have tried to do is make it easy and not too expensive to get started. A lot of people do it this way first and then get  handy Husband, Granfather etc to build amazing indoor palaces for their little ones,  with swimming pools and basking areas and sheltered areas with tunnels etc the choice is yours.