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predator proof nigh cage for tortoises, Lucky Dog Animal House

Lucky Dog Animal House cage by Jewett Cameron that I use as a night time protection cage for a small group of Golden Greek tortoises. As of this writing, Amazon has over a dozen different kits of these Animal Housesfor sale, most with free shipping.

Modular night protection cage

Oct 2016

The Lucky Dog "Animal House" series is a modular caging system by Jewett-Cameron that can be used to build expandable outdoor cages for tortoises. For example, the standard duty 120" x 60" x 30" kit (model AH 51204) or the heavy duty 120" x 60" x 30" kit (model AH 71404) would make a great night security cage for smaller tortoises.

These panels are modular and can be screwed together in endless ways to create strong, protective cages of various sizes. Panels and gates (doors) are available in two sizes (30"x30", 60"x30") and in two strengths (standard, heavy duty) with different size mesh openings.

predator proof outdoor night cage for small tortoises, Lucky Dog Animal House

I leave the tortoise house door open at night to allow the Greeks to freely enter and exit the house and move within the caged area. Some like to spend the night in the house while others prefer to dig into the soil. During the day, the cage gate is always open so that tortoises can use the full outdoor enclosure.

predator proof night protection cage for tortoises, Lucky Dog Animal House

For this small night cage, I used 2 large gate panels (60" x 30") on top for full access and 1 small gate panel (30" x 30") on the front. Each gate panel has 2 latches, one at each end.

For size reference, one Greek tortoise is sunning himself on the concrete blocks behind the front cage door.

Animal House heavy duty panels

I used the "heavy duty" panels instead of the "standard" strength panels because the mesh openings are smaller. The standard duty panels are little cheaper, but have 2" x 2" openings. For best security, you can cover the panels with 1/4" - 1/2" wire mesh to prevent any tiny rodents passing through.

Currently, these modular Animal House panels are the best for my purposes. In the past, I've purchased modular steel panels with 1" x 1" openings, but that company has closed its doors.

When these panels are attached, there's a small gap between the panel frames to accommodate the connecting clamps. Tiny animals, like baby mice or thin snakes, could possible creep though the openings. See the photo below. However, the "heavy duty" panels are super strong against any bigger predators.

edge blocks

To secure the cage sides I use either thick retaining wall blocks (right) or thinner patio blocks (left). You can increase security buy burying a couple of layers of blocks into the soil or placing two rows of blocks side by side. You could also attach wire panels or hardware cloth to the floor.

Greek tortoises are diggers, but mine haven't tried to tunnel under these blocks, so they are mostly to keep predator out. I check the block perimeter every day for any possible breaches while attending to my tortoises.

Lucky Dog Animal House night protectioncage

During the winter, I cover the whole cage with a tarp or a large piece of plastic. This keeps the cage area dry during rains. The small, insulated night house is heated with a reptile radiant heat panel controlled by a thermostat.

Our winters are mild with little rain, so this setup works well for me. If you live in a colder climate with below freezing temperatures, you'll need better insulation.

 

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Related pages: blog page 2, outdoor pens, outdoor houses

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