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Housing Tortoises Indoors

Once you decide on owning a tortoise and before they arrive, you should set up a proper indoor habitat or enclosure. You're looking for a controlled environment. This is easily accomplished with an aquarium and a mesh screen lid. The size of the species will determine what size tank you should need. For example hatchlings can be housed in a twenty gallon aquarium where as an adult Russian should be housed in at least a fifty five gallon. A controlled environment is needed so you can maintain a constant temperature and humidity level. A thermometer/hygrometer should be purchased before the tortoise arrives as well.

The substrate or ground cover should be at least an inch thick. A layer of cypress mulch (for example) that has been frozen first to kill any bacteria or parasites. Make sure the substrate is thoroughly moist with clean water. If you see a small pool of water through the substrate on the aquarium floor thatís fine. On one end of the enclosure place a hide or a spot for them to sleep and feel safe. Then on the opposite side place a shallow water dish in the substrate so the tortoise can walk in freely. Also place a small flat tile in the center of the aquarium for a food plate.(easier clean up) Place your meter probe in the center of the tank. Put the mesh screen on top and place your mercury vapor bulb fixture on top of that. Keep the light on the side where the water is located and place your heating bulb on the side where the tortoises home is. Turn on your light, heater and also fill up the water dish. Take a reading from your meter and see what the temperature and humidity levels are at for a full twenty four hours before your tortoise arrives. Temperature levels should range from 95*on one side and 75-80* on the other with a basking spot around 110*. Humidity should be 85 - 95%. High humidity is perfect if proper temperature levels are maintained.

If you would like to make your set up look a little nicer just add some edible plants, a few sticks, rocks for them to exercise and crawl over. Keep a spray bottle handy to spray down the set up and tortoise when humidity levels drop. Change out the water dish daily as well as cleaning out the enclose and food dish. Once your tortoise shows up your ready to put them in there new home. Their food plate should be the most colorful thing in their enclosure with a wide variety of greens, flowers and leaves