Wood turtle enclosure

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reptologist
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Wood turtle enclosure

Post by reptologist » July 11th, 2015, 2:10 pm

Here are a few pictures of the enclosure that I keep my wood turtles in. It has grown over the years and this year I added the pond and a few more square footage. Each piece of driftwood was collected by me. A couple of them were heavy and I had to carry them at least a quarter mile. The turtles will climb on them and hang out. All of the plants are real and I was wondering if there is a way to fertilize them safely without affecting the turtles negatively. The pond is approximately 8' in diameter and about 18" deep with sloping edges. It holds around 250 gallons. There is no filtration and I change it weekly. With a 2" drain it empties quickly. It's hard to determine the size of the enclosure as it is not a regular shape. It has 72' of wall. It is at least 20' long and anywhere from 12' to 16' wide depending on where you make the measurements. I tried to provide as many places for the turtle to hide and to create visual barriers. My female has laid eggs this year so I am hopeful see them hatch.
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Kelly Mc
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Kelly Mc » July 11th, 2015, 2:24 pm

Excellent.

You can pail the water from the pool when its due, or overdue for a change, for the plants. The other types may be safe but why not be self sustaining.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Kelly Mc » July 11th, 2015, 9:50 pm

I was in a hurry when I posted before.

I find your work stellar, beautiful and strategically intelligent.

Thank you for sharing here, looking toward to hearing and seeing more. So deserving insculpta are of such a living space.

Kfen
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Kfen » July 12th, 2015, 3:45 pm

That is a beautiful enclosure. I used to keep some turtles outside and loved it. Even when I would keep tortoises outside for a few months I could see the improvement in there overall appearance and growth.

For fertilizer I used to do exactly what Kelly suggested. You can also start a worm bin to make wonderful compost AND provide a great homegrown free food source for your turtles. If you have any questions or want to talk about it, shoot me a pm, or ask here.

What are the walls of the enclosure made out of? I see the rocks holding it up on the outside, but what is keeping it from falling inward? Is it dug in enough? Do you have any concerns about raccoons or other predators?

Thanks for sharing, I am currently planning (in my head anyway) a pond for some European pond turtles.

Jimi
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Jimi » July 13th, 2015, 12:09 pm

Do you have any concerns about raccoons or other predators?
Besides "wow, that is truly lovely!", my first thought was the quote above. Dogs, coons, crows, kids - how do you keep them out? (I see what looks to be your hot line, but...some predators can outsmart or out-tough a little shock.) If it was me I'd have covered the whole thing in a locking, aviary- or coop-type cage, of materials suitable for whatever weather & climate you have there. I too have kept turtles outside, and suffered the consequences of inadequate protection. Major Bummer.

For fertilizing, I think if you went with a weak, perhaps organic, solution (e.g., fish emulsion) rather than a concentrated solid (e.g., slow-release pellets) the turtles might eat, it would be just fine. The turtle-water is a fine idea (to reduce labor, you could put a pump in the pond, use a timer to have it kick on & off, & run drip lines to your hostas & bunch grasses) but probably inadequate for the plants' nutritional needs long-term.

cheers,
Jimi

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Kelly Mc » July 13th, 2015, 1:48 pm

Perhaps reptologist brings them in at night or has a night/weather house we don't readily see in the pics. At the zoo almost everything was open that wasn't strident in mobility or dangerous and every encl had a night house. There were lots of native fauna, as well as feral dogs but even they never made an appearance before nightfall.

Building/creating night/weather houses for the private collection is an art in itself, not discussed too frequently so worth broaching.

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reptologist
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by reptologist » July 14th, 2015, 11:44 am

Kelly Mc wrote:I was in a hurry when I posted before.

I find your work stellar, beautiful and strategically intelligent.

Thank you for sharing here, looking toward to hearing and seeing more. So deserving insculpta are of such a living space.
Thanks so much for the kind words.

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reptologist
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by reptologist » July 14th, 2015, 12:02 pm

Kfen wrote:That is a beautiful enclosure. I used to keep some turtles outside and loved it. Even when I would keep tortoises outside for a few months I could see the improvement in there overall appearance and growth.

For fertilizer I used to do exactly what Kelly suggested. You can also start a worm bin to make wonderful compost AND provide a great homegrown free food source for your turtles. If you have any questions or want to talk about it, shoot me a pm, or ask here.

What are the walls of the enclosure made out of? I see the rocks holding it up on the outside, but what is keeping it from falling inward? Is it dug in enough? Do you have any concerns about raccoons or other predators?

Thanks for sharing, I am currently planning (in my head anyway) a pond for some European pond turtles.
Thanks for the compliment. I will try what Kelly suggested, but I'm not sure the water is around long enough to have any value. The main reason I change it as often as I do is because of mosquitos. I skim it daily and when I see the first larvae I change the water. I just added a dozen minnows so hopefully they can help lengthen the time between changes. The walls are made from sheet metal. At each joint is a slip that overlaps each panel. They are driven down into the ground about 12". The panels are also tapped into the ground about an inch. There is gravel around the outside and the rocks on the outside are strictly for looks. We just had a major storm with really high winds and I did not have any issues. I do have concerns about predators but in all of the years I have been living here there has not been any problems. I am more concerned about someone stealing them. There are security measures in place but I would rather not discuss that. The compost idea is good but I just don't feel like I would be motivated enough to do it. The turtles are outside till Fall and they winter indoors in my garage.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Fieldnotes » July 16th, 2015, 2:27 pm

Dang, this is one the coolest set-ups ever. Doesn't look too expensive either; was it?

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reptologist
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by reptologist » July 17th, 2015, 9:26 am

Fieldnotes wrote:Dang, this is one the coolest set-ups ever. Doesn't look too expensive either; was it?
Thanks. It is made from (3) 4'x8' pieces of sheet metal. I used to be in the HVAC trade and learned duct fabrication. I went to my ex-employer and asked if I could buy the metal and I ran it through the slicer. I got 3 pieces at 16" tall from each full sheet. I put a 1/2" folded edge on the top so there are no sharp exposed edges. The same slips that hold ducts together secure it to the ground as mentioned above in an earlier post. The pond was made from a 10'x10' pond liner with underlayment. The drain is 2" pvc pipe. I already had the cobblestones so I'm less than $200 total out of pocket costs for materials. It cost another $75 to rent a trench digger, the drain runs 30' to a drain at the back of my property. So in total I'm out of pocket just under $300 for the set-up.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Wood turtle enclosure

Post by Fieldnotes » July 17th, 2015, 10:28 am

Very cool. I'd like to make one for my yard someday, not for wood turtles, but something a bit more common. Perhaps a box turtle. Thanks.

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