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Posted: 05/01/2009 by sherri

hiya i have been reading and  i dont here anyone say they have there tortoise in a vivarium  well my tortoise will be going into aone as the petshop told me that what  they have too live in is this not the best way ?or will they be alright in that

Re: vivarium
Posted: 05/01/2009 by imfromwales

I would try to stay away from vivariums! They dont allow for a temperature change i.e. 30.C to 20.C as they are usually small, and tortoises can get confused from being able to see out of the glass, but not get past the glass.

Have a look at building a tortoise table, it is much more suitable as you can build it as big as you want, allowing for the different temperatures. If you cant be bothered to make one, just turn a bookcase on its side and you have one!

Take a look at the members gallery, under Ed. This shows my tortoises two homes. One is not used anymore, the bookcase on its side. The other is his new house. Notice there is shade for Ed, as well as trying to ensure when Ed goes for a bath/drink, as much soil as possible comes off his feet by using the stones.

Hope all goes well in housing your tortoise.


Re: vivarium
Posted: 05/01/2009 by tpgNina

Hi Sherri,

I'd like to second what Antonio said -- vivariums are not good environments for tortoises. There are several reasons for this:
1. As Antonio said, you can't get a good temperature variation in a vivarium, because of its enclosed nature. Tortoises regulate their body heat from outside sources, not internally, like we do, and they need to move from warm to cool areas at will do do this. You want a temperature of about 30C at one end and about 20C at the other end, and this is very hard to do in a vivarium, unless it is about 8' long and very well ventilated.
2. Because of the poor ventilation in even the best of vivariums, a build-up of moisture can occur, making it too humid for some species and encouraging the growth of mould.
3. Antonio is also right about the glass -- some tortoises are OK with this, but most of them just don't understand the concept of glass and will spend a lot of frustrating and stressful time trying to walk through it.
4. Because vivariums are basically good for animals that walk on the ground and also up branches and things, they tend to be high sided but not actually have much floor space. Tortoises need a surprisingly large space to wander around in, and the floor space of most vivariums just does not provide this.

The reason the pet shop told you that tortoises need to live in vivariums is probably either that it was pure ignorance (snakes and lizards can live in vivariums and they are reptiles, so why not tortoises), or greed (vivariums cost a lot of money and pet shops need to make a profit).
We will shortly be posting an article on why torts shouldn't be kept in vivariums, complete with figures of the unacceptably high temperatures that can occur in vivariums, but in the meantime, have a look at this article on the Tortoise Trust site (scroll down to the bullet points section under 'vivarium tanks'): (sorry this isn't a live link, but you can cut and paste it).


Re: vivarium
Posted: 10/06/2009 by onelargetortoise

Large indoor rabbit cages are ideal for hatchlings/juveniles for indoor accomadation, I've also converted childrens sandpits into rather impressive tortoise tables (picked up for between 20 and 40). They are better for the torts and look far far better than viv's which are often made out of chipboard... its also far far easier to interact with your tortoise using table accomadation.

I got my indoor rabbit cages from jollyies pets blyth (although they are all over) they are very sturdy and rather alot cheaper than most available... also bigger sizes.

I have converted a large 5 foot x 4 foot x 30cm high B&Q sandpit with a 2foot x 4 foot x 1foot storage box into a large tortoise table with a built in hide by buying a sheet of inch thick exterior ply and cutting it to size. This cost around 60.

Netto's have 1 metre square sandpits (under 30) just now which I have also bought and I'm using as table accomadations similarly to the B&Q pit.

All my indoor setups have 160w megaray selfbalasted bulbs above them at one end of the accomadation, the Bulbs are 50 each but last a year and give excellent UVB so you're only running one electrical device indoors (when room temps dont get too low). the ceramic holder for these was around 27 and is a piglight/chick brooder light purchased from a local agricultural murchant. I have these running off timer switches to give 12hours daylight and heat perday, the torts have more than enough sand/soil substrate to totally bury themselves if they wish- my hermans do my horsefield doesn't.

Be aware tubes offer poor Uvb and should be replaced every 4-6 months, they don't give off heat so a seperate basking bulb would be required. Kimbos reptile world supply the self balasted megarays and I've found their service to be prompt.

I also have outdoor accomadations that are rather large either attached to greenhouse or large coldframes and huts/sheds.

Tortoise's of all species seem to do very badly in vivs. My torts and I'm sure the torts of the members on here are very active and interested in me/them and the things going on around me/them, I've found torts in vivs either try desperatly to escape them or have given up the will to live and sit motionless, its heartbreaking to make the comparrisons between my animals and animals in petshops.


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