All about Indian & Burmese Star tortoises, Angulates, Golden Greeks... and more...

Outdoor Housing Examples p.1

- stone pen with a heated house -

outdoor tortoise pen

Outdoor pen with a heated shed

Concrete blocks and decorative garden blocks are a versatile material for outdoor tortoise enclosures. They allow pens to be build in any size and shape. Stone pens can also be moved and enlarged as needed.

This pen was built for a subadult Sulcata, but it would work well for Star tortoises. Star tortoises are not diggers or burrowers, so the pen walls don't need to be extended below the ground. Stone blocks are also very heavy; they cannot be pushed around by Star tortoises.

Caution! Always attach any heating and lighting devices securely so that they cannot fall down and start a fire. If you are using a pig blanket on the floor, keep the hot surface free of any material (e.g. hay.)

All photos on this page courtesy of Matt, southeast Texas.

For more info on building outdoor tortoise pens for Stars and other dry area species, see the outdoor housing page.

stone block tortoise pen

An irregular wall shape avoids corners and feels more natural to tortoises. Enclosure corners are a favorite escape spot for many tortoises. The two side planters are filled with edible plants.

heated tortoise house

This outdoor pen includes a heated tortoise house for cooler weather. Rubbermaid sheds are manufactured in many shapes and sizes. This Horizontal Storage Shed is available in 18 and 32 cubic feet sizes.

tortoise shed

The door opening was cut with a table saw. A carpet runner flap door (4" slits) keeps the house warmer inside while allowing the tortoise to walk through.

inside tortoise heated house

All open gaps in the cut doorway were filled with foam insulation (about 3 cans) and then the whole house was insulated with Reflectix insulation

heated tortoise house

The tortoise house is heated with a 150W ceramic heat emitter (CHE) hanging from the ceiling. An indoor/outdoor thermostat keeps the heat at the desired level. If the outdoor temperature dips below 30 °F (-1.1 °C), the tortoise's owner brings him inside.

Note: The bright light in the photo is from the sun, not from a light bulb. CHE"s do not emit any light.


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