Examples of Indoor Housing p.1
Simple tortoise table
What's a tortoise table?
A typical tortoise table is a simple, self-built, rectangular wooden box. They are easy to construct in any shape and size to fit the tortoise size and available space. These open-topped boxes can either be placed on top of large tables or they can have built-in legs. Most tortoise tables have solid walls all around, but the fancier ones are fitted with see-through front walls.
This page shows some examples of tortoise tables. If you'd like to have your table design featured here, just email me your photos. :O)
One-level tortoise table
This beautiful 8ft x 2ft tortoise table was custom-designed and -built to house Amit's Indian Star tortoise. Storage cabinets and two pull-out tables are located under the tortoise table.
Note: This tortoise table was brand new when the photos were taken and had not been filled with the proper substrate yet.
Tortoise table 8ft x 2ft
A mercury vapor bulb (MVB) and a linear fluorescent UVB bulb illuminate the enclosure. Instead of hanging it from the side wall, the linear bulb could be installed in a strip light fixture to direct the light into the enclosure and away from people's eyes.
The green wall accentuates the dark wood.
Two-level tortoise table
A 2-level tortoise table with built-in hides and removable plant boxes
This wooden tortoise table was custom-made for Philip's Indian Star tortoise babies. It has two built-in hide areas on the lower level and two changeable plant boxes on the main level. Two separate feeding areas prevent accidental ingestion of substrate. The see-through front wall lets you observe the tortoises in action.
First, buy the plant tubs, and then build the table based on the plant tub dimensions. The table can be build larger by adding more tubs. These removable plant tubs are great if you like to grow edible weeds and flowers in your tortoise table. Plant multiple tubs with vegetation and just switch between them as needed, i.e., when eaten. :O) Plus, changing the soil is much easier with smaller, removable tubs.
Even if you don't grow grass or plants, soil filled tubs make good digging, burrowing, or egg laying areas. For egg laying, the tubs should be deeper. Just choose deeper plastic tubs and adjust the ramp and the rest of the table to match, or plug the nesting tub into a hole cut to the bottom of the table. If using the latter method, choose a tub with wide rims that are strong enough to hold and support the weight of the filled tub. For added safety, it's best to add support braces to hold the bottom of the tub. Damp soil and sand mix is very heavy.
You can easily modify this table design to fit your needs. For example, you can simplify the table by making it a one-level enclosure. Just use enough tubs to cover the floor area and add a hide box.
Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not need the cover lid. Installing strong netting, for example, steel hardware cloth, into the lid frame will keep the tortoises safe from other pets like cats and dogs.
Adding wheels to the table legs gives you the flexibility to roll the table into different areas. For example, between indoors and outdoors. If you have wide double doors. :O)
You can build the table yourself if you are handy with woodworking tools, or take the table plans and your plant tubs to a local carpenter and have him build it for you based on your specifications and size / number of plant tubs.
Note: Star tortoises love warmth and basking. Their indoor enclosures should include heating, basking, and lighting fixtures (not shown in these photos), unless your tortoise spends most of his time outdoors in the natural sunshine. Go to the lighting & heating page for descriptions of UVB bulbs and ceramic heat emitters.
Two safe (no substrate to ingest accidentally) feeding areas and two plant tubs with water dishes.
Tortoise table photos and plans courtesy of Philip Chan.
Click here for a larger diagram.
The two removable feeding platforms form the roofs of the hiding areas
Ramp to the lower level hiding places
One of the lower level hiding areas
Ready-made tortoise table
Zoo Med tortoise table x 2 (double setup)
You can also buy a ready-made tortoise table, for example, the Zoo Med Tortoise House. Two of these tortoise housing boxes can be joined together by removing the end boards. This doubles the enclosure size. Each Tortoise House is 36" long, 24" wide, and 12" high. Thus, joining two boxes together creates a 72" x 24" (6ft x 2ft) tortoise table. This table is usually available both on amazon
and eBay (direct links to tables).
Zoo Med Tortoise Houses have built-in wire lids. They provide good protection from dogs and cats. Ideally, place tortoise enclosures on tables off the drafty floor. Higher placement also makes it more difficult for other pets to reach the box.
Trixi's three cute Russian tortoises live in this double enclosure, but it would work nicely for baby and juvenile Star tortoises as well.
Each Zoo Med Tortoise House has a built-in hiding area. The front panel to the hide can be removed to make the table roomier inside.
One-level tortoise table photos courtesy of Amit Mehta. Two-level tortoise table photos and plans courtesy of Philip Chan. Zoo Med tortoise table photos courtesy of Trixi Skinner. All text by StarTortoises.net. Email me to submit photos of your Star tortoise table, tub, or other enclosure.
For more indoor tortoise housing photos, see the links on the left and the SiteMap for example pages under "Housing."