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Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts

finished enclosureNot long ago, my sister-in-law called me in a panic. She was on the other side of the island when a turtle started to cross the road. Luckily she saw the turtle in time to stop her car. She ran out and picked up the poor turtle and put it in her car. Afterwards, she called me in a panic to drive to the other side of the island and take the turtle. She understands that I love animals and would take care of the turtle. She has several big dogs in her yard and had no idea how to care for a turtle.

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The turtle was a land turtle and needed an enclosure that provided it with enough sun, a small pool of water to sit in, and a lot of nice dried grass to lie in. For the first few days I kept the turtle in a plastic rabbit cage my sister-in-law gave to me. However, I could see the turtle didn't like this home and needed something more.

I knew I needed to build an enclosure for the turtle to live in. I had no idea what type of an enclosure would be the best. I had to go online and search for a turtle enclosure that would work for me. I saw a lot of designs and beautiful ideas. Each one of these took a lot of material we don't have on the islands. I needed to come up with a solution and quickly.

Being very creative and loving to design and create I build my own version of a turtle enclosure. Here is what I used:

  • rocks
  • dried grass
  • 3 recycled pallets
  • recycled chicken cage wire
  • bamboo bowls
  • dirt
  • potted plants
  • bamboo curtains or window curtains

I first cleaned an area in my yard that would give the turtle plenty of morning sunlight. I decided how large I wanted the cage. Afterwards, I gathered the rocks from the riverbed that runs in front of my home.

My neighbor had just finished cutting his yard and had plenty of dried grass. He gave me 4 large sacks of dry grass to use in my cage.

I had some pallets in the yard and tore them apart. I removed all the nails from the pallets. Afterwards, I found some 2x2 wood in the yard and cut the wood for the enclosure.

I lined the bottom of the enclosure with rocks and spread dry grass on top of the rocks. I split the enclosure in half. In half of the enclosure I left the dried grass and the other side I added dirt. Here I put in a small bamboo bowl that I could add water to. Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - addition of chicken wire to keep turtle inside

 
Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - divided enclosure with rocks on one half and dirt on the other
 

I put the bamboo curtains around the back of the enclosure to make it look nice. I then built the 3 sides of the cage with the wood I had cut from the pallets. I added more rocks to the front and two sides of the enclosure so the turtle couldn't escape. I then added in some plants the turtle could eat. I needed to check online to make sure these plants were safe for the turtle before I added them to his enclosure.

I was now ready to put my turtle in his new home. He loved his home because there were plants, dirt, grass, rocks, and water for him. But what I didn't realize at the time is that the turtle could still get out of his enclosure.

I heard my dog barking and standing over something in the yard. When I went out to see what was wrong, I saw my turtle walking around my garden. I put the turtle back in his new enclosure and found some chicken wire. I added the chicken wire to the top of the enclosure. However, I noticed this would't work well. I couldn't feed the turtle.
Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - chicken wire

 

I found a few pieces of flat wood in the yard. I cut the top of the chicken wire and attached the wood to the two sides. This way I could open the chicken wire and give the turtle water and food. Building a Turtle Home in Your Garden - adding wooden sides to chicken wire so that it can be opened
 

My turtle loves his enclosure and is so happy here. I made the enclosure to fit with the décor of my yard. When people visit they love the enclosure I made for my turtle.

It is easy to find material around your home to make many different projects for your garden. You just need to be creative and have an idea of what you want. The internet is a wonderful source of information to give you ideas. I used the internet to see what type of an enclosure would best for my turtle to live in.

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January 14, 20161 found this helpful

Great instructions and good story. Really enjoy your posts here.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 18, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you so much. I had fun building this.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 19, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you so much. This was fun and I had a great time building it. Took me all day to get it done. But in the end my turtle is happy and doing good.

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January 17, 20160 found this helpful

This is very attractive. I have found turtles in the past but have not been successful making a habitat. I know more now.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 18, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you so much. i built this myself.

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January 18, 20161 found this helpful

The habitat is very nice but the turtle is a wild creature and should be free to live his/her life as nature intended. If one sees a turtle crossing the road pick the turtle up and take it to the other side of the road, in the direction that it was headed.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 11, 20190 found this helpful

This might be true for where you live but not where I live. Too many turtles were released and have almost destroyed our rivers. Now the territory captures them and kills them.

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In order to save their life, it is better to take it home and make a great place for it to live and be happy.

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February 18, 20200 found this helpful

Are you looking for an excuse to keep this animal ? You said your turtle is a land turtle. No land turtle destroys rivers. The one turtle which is forbidden on the French territory, French Polynesia included, is an aquatic and carnivorous turtle, it is the Florida turtle. It was sold as a "pet" in the 70's and the 80's. When realizing how long this "pet" could live and how fast it grows, many of their owners got rid of them by throwing them away in the rivers and the ponds of the public parcs. They became predators of indigenous turtles found only in France and Switzerland and also predators of many fishes. The Florida turtle has itself no predator in France nor in Europe. Considering that this turtle was a danger for the european environment, Europe outlawed its trading in 1997.

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So your turtle is a land turtle ? You live on the French territory in French Polynesia, then you are not allowed to keep this animal.
The French decree of November 19, 2007 establishes the list of amphibians and reptiles protected on the whole territory and the methods of their protection. "Therefore, it is forbidden to buy, sell, give, transport and take them from the wild and pick them up, whether they are alive, injured or dead" Even people who owned turtle prior to 19th of November 2007 must ask for permission to the veterinary administration to keep them.
Get in touch with them and follow their advice. These two laws, the european and the french law protect indigenous turtles and environment. It is your interest to respect them. By the way your turtle will not stay in the shelter you made. A turtle can dig earth to get free just like it does when it burries itself every winter in others colder climates. You obviously are not used to turtles so if you like and respect this animal and any animal, set it free !

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February 24, 20201 found this helpful

I agree. Land turtles need to roam and interact with others of its kind. As has been said. If you see a turtle in danger on a road or highway if you can safely stop then do so and move the turtle out of danger and then you too move out of danger.

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Wild creatures are NOT happy being penned and kept from their natural habitats. You are a kind and loving person but a bit misguided. Please release the turtle into a safe environment.

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January 21, 20161 found this helpful

I repeat: If all the animals in the world were to die, all mankind would die, too. But, if all mankind were to die, the animals would continue to live. We need them. They don't need us. Since we can't live without them, the least we can do is show compassion towards them.

I thank you for extending kindness to this animal.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 21, 20161 found this helpful

I love animals and raise them at home. I have 1 cat, 3 dogs, my turtle, and 5 rabbits. I love to take care of them and make sure they are happy. I ended up with the rabbit like I did with my turtle. A friend of mine found a large male rabbit in her yard. Her dogs weren't happy about the rabbit. She called me and I came to pick up the rabbit. I brought the rabbit home and made him a beautiful cage.

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Afterwards, another person had to move and didn't know what to do with her rabbit. So I ended up with a second rabbit. I did allow the rabbits to breed once and I kept 3 of the babies. I just couldn't get rid of them, they were too cute. Now I have 5 rabbits and they all live in their own special place.

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Anonymous
February 20, 20160 found this helpful

This is a wild animal and should not be taken out of the wild. Turtles are very territorial and stay within a certain area their whole lives. If moved they will search for their home, forever. A better choice is to take the turtle to the other side, in the direction it was traveling and leave it alone. This wild turtle is not a pet to be caged its whole life, dependent upon a human. That is cruel because it will not live out its life with others of its kind, living in the wild. More than likely this turtle if a female, was going to a usual location to lay eggs. In most states it is against the law to capture any wild animal and make a pet of them.
If you love wildlife, let them be wild!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 11, 20190 found this helpful

The problem here on the islands is that turtles are not wild animals and live here on their own. For some time the pet stores would import baby turtles to the islands and sell them off. People bought these and took them home. When they grew too big they would release them in our rivers. This was dangerous for our rivers and killed off many of the small fish that lived there. After this the territory went through and caught all of them and destroyed them. Now if we find one in the road it is better to pick it up and give it a good home otherwise it will be killed.

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January 19, 20180 found this helpful

In my KS town's once a year celebration there is a turtle race for the children. Afterwards the turtles are released. I saw a box turtle crossing the road and stopped and got it to give to my nephew for the race. In my front yard I had a big truck tire filled with soil where I planned to plant a bush. I put the turtle in there just until I could give him to my nephew. I imbedded a glass pie dish in the soil to fill with water, I fed him earth worms. Well he disappeared! I thought that a child going home from school saw him in the tire and took him home. I didn't think any more about him. I didn't take the pie plate out (just procrastinating I guess) A year later I happened to glance in the tire and there was the turtle! The plate was still there with water from rains. I figured he must have burrowed into the ground and came out when he wanted he had water and there was grass and weeds and insects in the tire so he must have found enough to eat. The celebration day was over for the year so I released him. Many times I wished that I had kept him for a pet. I planted a bush in the tire. I might try another one some time just for a turtle.

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