Habitat Guidelines: Outdoor Pens for Large Tortoises

  • pen must be outdoors
  • pen must be predator-proof as appropriate to your area (dog, raccoon, fox, skunk, coyote, etc.)
  • fencing must be opaque, at least 24" high, and buried at least 8" in substrate
  • in Colorado, nighttime low temperatures should be at least 45F by May 15th and tortoises should be able to live outdoors for at least 5 months of the year
  • minimum size for one or two tortoises: 900 sq. ft.
  • recessed water dish accessible from all sides for entry and exit
  • artificial or natural hides (one for each turtle plus one additional)
  • brush pile for burrowing
  • live vegetation
  • CoRHS recommendations: Spiderwort(Tradescantia ssp.), strawberry, squash, sunflower, dandelion, globe mallow, bindweed, grasses
  • for a list of toxic plants to avoid, please see the California Turtle & Tortoise Club's list of poisonous plants: www.tortoise.org/general/poi sonp.html
  • areas of shade and areas of morning sun
  • males should not outnumber females

Habitat Guidelines: Outdoor Pens for Large Tortoises - Colorado Reptile Humane Society
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