Smart Ways to House A Tortoise: Here’s What You Need to Know

Having a pet is a rewarding experience, and a tortoise can make a great addition to the family. Like all other animals, a tortoise requires a bit of extra care, however. Consider many things, from the right temperature and humidity to the proper diet, before bringing a tortoise home. One of the most important considerations is how to house a tortoise. 

There are many ways to house a tortoise to ensure your pet’s comfort and happiness. From creating the perfect temperature and humidity levels to providing appropriate enclosures and substrates, we will provide helpful tips and tricks for making the ideal home for your tortoise. Let’s get started!

many ways to house a tortoise
Smart Ways to House A Tortoise Here’s What You Need to Know

About Tortoise Housing

Tortoise housing is an essential part of keeping tortoises as pets. Turtles and tortoises are reptiles that need a habitat that simulates their natural environment. Housing tortoises can be simple or complex, depending on the individual tortoise’s species and needs. A suitable enclosure is vital for the health and well-being of the tortoise.

When housing a tortoise, the enclosure size should be large enough to accommodate the animal’s needs. It should be at least four times the length of the tortoise, and the walls should be at least twice as high as the length of the tortoise. A large enclosure allows the animal to move around freely and explore. Providing at least one hide spot in the chamber is essential, as this helps the tortoise feel safe and secure.

Moreover, the enclosure should be well-ventilated and have access to direct sunlight. Tortoises need direct sunlight to stay healthy and absorb Vitamin D3. If the chamber is indoors, artificial lighting should be provided.

many ways to house a tortoise
About Tortoise Housing

Why Do Tortoises Need An Ideal Habitat?

Tortoises are one of the longest-living animals in the world, with some species having lifespans of up to 150 years. This makes it especially important to create an ideal habitat for them to live healthy, happy lives. A tortoise’s habitat should provide a safe, comfortable place to rest and forage for food.

Tortoises need an ideal habitat to survive and thrive. The habitat should provide protection from predators, shelter from the elements, and an adequate food supply. It should also be large enough to accommodate the tortoise’s needs, such as providing enough space to graze and exercise. A proper habitat will also help the tortoise maintain health, as it can regulate its body temperature and humidity levels.

many ways to house a tortoise
Why Do Tortoises Need An Ideal Habitat

What Do You Need To Set Up An Ideal Tortoise Habitat?

Setting up an ideal tortoise habitat can be challenging, but with the proper knowledge, it can be done. This article will discuss all the components you need to set up an ideal tortoise habitat and how to properly care for your new pet. To set up a perfect tortoise habitat, you will need the following: 

1. Enclosure

The most important aspect of setting up a tortoise habitat is providing your pet with an appropriate enclosure. The enclosure should be large enough to give your tortoise plenty of space to move around and explore. For smaller species, such as the Russian tortoise, a 40-gallon tank is ideal. Larger species, such as the Sulcata tortoise, require a much larger space.

2. Substrate

A substrate is essential for an ideal tortoise habitat because it gives them a safe and comfortable place to burrow, helps to maintain humidity levels, and provides a naturalistic environment. The substrate also helps to keep the habitat clean and provides a safe surface for climbing and grazing. The substrate also helps to keep the tortoise’s nails and claws healthy and will allow them to dig and explore.

3. Various Plants and Foliage

Various foliage and plants help create a more natural environment for the tortoise, which can benefit its physical and mental health. They provide shelter and hiding spots. Additionally, having different types of plants and foliage allows the tortoise to explore and forage for food, which is an integral part of its natural behaviors.

4. Heating and UV Lamp

Heating and UV lamps are essential components of tortoise habitat. They provide crucial warmth and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which are critical to a tortoise’s health. The warmth helps to keep the tortoise active and alert, while the UV radiation helps to provide the nutrients required for healthy bone and shell growth. The lamps also create a natural light cycle, helping regulate the tortoise’s circadian rhythms.

5. Water Dish

A water dish is essential to a tortoise habitat because it provides clean water for drinking, soaking, and bathing. A water dish also provides a safe environment for tortoises to drink and bathe in instead of allowing them to roam in a large body of water, which can be dangerous. Additionally, a water dish helps to keep the habitat clean, as tortoises tend to defecate in their water dishes.

many ways to house a tortoise
Water Dish

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How To House A Tortoise Properly?

Taking care of a tortoise can be a rewarding experience, but it is essential to understand how to house a tortoise properly to keep them healthy and happy. Additionally, the enclosure should have areas of shade, humidity, and dryness to mimic their natural environment. In the following paragraphs, let us give you many ways to house a tortoise indoors and outdoors.

many ways to house a tortoise
How To House A Tortoise Properly

Ways To Create an Indoor House for A Tortoise

Creating an indoor house for your tortoise is a great way to provide them with a safe, comfortable, and stimulating environment. So, we will explore some of the best ways to create an indoor house for a tortoise, from selecting suitable housing materials to providing the necessary amenities. 

1. Choose an Appropriate Location

Before setting up an indoor house for your pet tortoise, it is essential to choose an appropriate location. The location should be secure, warm, and free from drafts. It is best to avoid placing the house near windows or other sources of direct sunlight, as this can cause the temperature to become too hot.

2. Select the Right Size

When choosing an indoor house for your tortoise, it is essential to select the correct size. The house should be large enough for your pet to move freely without feeling restricted. It should also be big enough for the tortoise to turn around.

3. Provide Appropriate Substrate

To create a comfortable and secure environment for your pet tortoise, it is essential to provide an appropriate substrate. The substrate should be deep enough for the tortoise to burrow into. You can use a soil, sand, or wood chips substrate. Remember to change it regularly to keep it clean.

4. Install a Hide Box

Tortoises need a place to hide and sleep. Place a hide box in the enclosure to provide your tortoise with a safe space. The box should also be made from a safe material for your tortoise and easy to clean.

5. Create a Warm and Humid Environment

Tortoises need humidity to stay healthy. Place a shallow dish of water in the enclosure to increase the moisture. Tortoises need a basking spot with a heat lamp to maintain their body temperature. Ensure the light is close enough to warm your tortoise but far enough away to avoid burns.

6. Add Plants

Since your tortoise lives in an indoor habitat, you should mimic the natural habitat with various plants. Live plants can provide your tortoise with a natural environment. Make sure to choose plants that are non-toxic to your tortoise.

7. Set Up Lighting

Ensure your enclosure has UVB lighting to provide your tortoise with the necessary vitamin D and calcium. Besides, it gives a natural light cycle that helps the tortoise to regulate its circadian rhythms.

Ways To Create an Outdoor House for A Tortoise

Outdoor housing for tortoises is often the best option, as they can move around, explore their surroundings, and benefit from natural light and warmth. Creating an outdoor house for your tortoise is easier than it may seem, and there are several simple ways to build a safe and comfortable home for your pet. 

1. Create a Natural Enclosure

The first option is to create a natural enclosure for your tortoise. This can be done by using natural materials such as rocks, logs, and branches to create a habitat. You can also add a few plants to the enclosure to help create a more natural environment. Ensure that the enclosure is large enough for your tortoise to move around and that the walls are high enough to prevent them from escaping.

2. Build a Wooden House

Another option is to build a wooden house for your tortoise. This is an easy project that only requires a little carpentry knowledge. You can use reclaimed wood or new lumber to build the house. Ensure that the house is large enough for your tortoise to move around and adequately secured to the ground.

3. Plant a Tortoise Garden

Create a garden area in your outdoor tortoise house. Plant various plants and flowers that are safe and edible for your tortoise. Place a few rocks, logs, and other hiding spots throughout the garden for enrichment. Additionally, a tortoise garden should have an area for your tortoise to dig, as this is a necessary activity for tortoises to stay healthy.

4. Create a Shade Area

Make sure that your tortoise has a shaded area in its outdoor house. This can be done using a canopy, tarp, or tree planting. A shaded area can help keep the outdoor enclosure cooler, which is essential for the health and well-being of the tortoise.

5. Install a Water Feature

Build a Wooden House
Install a Water Feature

Place a shallow water dish in the outdoor house for your tortoise to drink from. Ensure the water is shallow enough so your tortoise can easily access it. The water feature can help keep the tortoise hydrated and provide an excellent and shady spot to relax during the hot summer months.

6. Provide a Warm Spot

Place a basking spot in the outdoor house for your tortoise. This can be done by installing a heat lamp or placing a large rock in the sun for the tortoise to bask. The warm spot encourages the tortoise to come out and explore, and it helps them maintain healthy levels of activity.

Tortoise Housing Tips

There are many ways to house a tortoise, and it mainly depends on the size and age. Let us give you smart tips to get a perfect environment for your tortoises.

1. Provide A Large Area

Tortoises under the age of 3 should be housed in a large vivarium. This should be at least 3 feet long and should be well-ventilated. If your tortoise is an adult, then an outdoor area is required. So, you will need a secure, well-fenced-in garden; remember, tortoises are excellent climbers and diggers.

2. Avoid Aquarium

For indoor habitation, there are better options than a glass tank. Even the largest glass aquariums are too tiny and have inadequate ventilation for most turtles. Tortoises require a large amount of floor area to move around, but the sides just need to be high enough for them to not be able to climb over them (whereas aquariums tend to have tall sides). 

Also, tortoises prefer non-transparent enclosures. In glass-sided tanks, they likely feel highly exposed and vulnerable and frequently spend a lot of time attempting to push through the transparent glass.

3. Give Enough Lighting

The juvenile tortoise should have access to a basking lamp (see leaflet on basking), which is a reflector bulb suspended over the tortoise to generate a temperature of 90° F or 32-34° C. In the past, owners have been advised to use a UV strip light too. But due to recent reports of tortoises with eye problems, UV strip lighting is not recommended until further investigations are carried out. You can choose a UV heating lamp to give your tortoise enough heat and lighting.

4. Prepare A Basking Indoor Area

You are halfway there if you have a garden shed, greenhouse, outhouse, or garage. Corner off an area inside to ensure that the tortoise does not disappear under the other items stored there. Simply cut a hole in the housing quarters to allow the tortoise to come and go from the garden area. Your tortoise will soon learn to come and go from the indoor area.

Moreover, you will require an electricity supply to install a basking lamp in this indoor area. The same principle applies; a reflector bulb is suspended from above to generate a temperature of  90° F or 32-34° C. Leave the basking lamp on for a minimum of 8 hours per day and a maximum of 12 hours.  

5. Cover The Transparent Side With Substrate

 If the vivarium sides are see-through, then block them out. Otherwise, the tortoise will spend most of its day trying to get through. The basking lamp should be positioned at one end and a box with shredded paper at the other. The floor should be lined with newspaper, which is cheap and easy to replace.

By positioning the lamp at one end and a box of shredded paper at the other, the tortoise will sleep under the paper. After that, the tortoise will wake up and bask under the light until he decides he is warm enough to go out into the garden.

6. Monitor The Temperature

Unfortunately, there are still tortoises living in this country, who are left in the home to roam around. Meanwhile, others are put in the garden all summer to fend for themselves. As a pet owner, you must remember that the temperature in this country does not reach 90° F daily, and these temperatures are required for a cold-blooded tortoise to bask under. So, remember to always monitor temperature in your tortoise enclosure.

many ways to house a tortoise
Monitor The Temperature


Having a tortoise as a pet can be a rewarding experience, and there are many ways to house a tortoise. This includes providing an ample space for the tortoise to move freely, access to sunlight, and a substrate that allows for burrowing. Additionally, proper care must be taken to ensure the species’ temperature, and humidity levels are optimal. A tortoise can become a welcome and fascinating addition to any home with careful planning and proper maintenance.  

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