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When your tortoise or tortoises get to a certain age and size, permanent out door housing is the way forward. Tables are great but if you are going to do the best by your shelled friend, a purpose built Tortoise house with planted and contained walled garden,will provide the best space and environment for all your tortoises, physical and emotional needs. I have always made my outdoor tortoise enclosures from pre owned children's wooden play houses. My first one , affectionately known as Hermann Hall, started life as a childs play cottage and has since had an extension using another play house kindly donated by my now teenage nieces .

Vital things to consider when choosing the site for your Tortoise house is the position of the sun in your garden, the proximity of any trees or over hanging plants that may pose a poisoning risk, how wet and water logged your chosen site may get during the winter and also the availability of electricity. 

This section details the construction of my newest Tortoise house. This one is to house my group of Hermanni Hermanni. Rather than an extension to my existing Hermann Hall, it is a free standing structure to ensure that the two subspecies never mix.

 To begin with, I scoured eBay for a suitable candidate for adaptation in to a reptile home. Once we had collected it the ground was cleared and prepared.


Hermann tortoise

A weed barrier was laid down and then gravel to get the ground level.

Tortoise care

The base is put onto wooden blocks and again levelled. Then the walls can be added

Tortoise care hermann tortoise

I used 25mm Cellotex board for the walls and ceiling. Then lined with 6mm plywood.

Toeroise care hermann tortoise

1With the roof on and re felted I then painted with a waterproofing stain.  A cat flap with closing internal shutter is also fitted.

Hermann tortoise

A draft proof barrier is added infant of the door and also covered with the lining material

Hermann tortoise

Many bags of top soil are added and a split level put in 

Hermann Tortoise

Next step to clear the ground to make the garden

Hermann tortoise
Hermann Tortoise

Damp proof course membrane is stretched over the base to weather proof.

Tortoise care Hermann Tortoise

With all the walls bolted in place, you can then insulate

Tortoise care hermann Tortoise

Insulating the floor is very important. For this I used 50mm cellotex board

The inside is lined with damp proofing membrane , using a staple gun to attach it to the wall. allow a good depth so that a good layer of soil can be used

Hermann tortoise

The electrical hard ware is installed 

Hermann tortoise

The inside of the door is insulated and lined with ply wood .

Hermann Tortoise

A wall is made out of decking planks bracketed together 

Hermann tortoise
Hermann tortoise

With some careful landscaping and tortoise friendly planting the job is done. A permanent all year round insulated and heated home providing for all your tortoises  needs.

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