Picture of Tortoise Habitat
When my African Sulcata tortoise (George!) was first hatched 4 years ago in August of 2007 I was completely overwhelmed with how to properly care for him and house the little guy.  He will eventually get 50-100 pounds and will be gigantic (among the top three largest species of tortoise).  Due to his quick growth and vary large appetite I have gone through many different habitats to properly accommodate him by keeping him comfortable, providing the necessary elements, and keeping him safe.  I am a college student so money is pretty scarce so this is a budget version of a habitat costing me under 20 bucks! This instruct able will teach you and guide you through making your own tortoise habitat at a very low price.

I live in michigan so this habitat was made as a summer habitat, I only keep him in it if the weather stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Step 1: Choose a location and build the sides

Picture of Choose a location and build the sides
The base for the habitat is preferably a deck, porch, concrete slab, or any other hard surface.  Soil, sand, grass, hay, etc. can be added to the habitat if needed, however a hard ground is preferred since tortoises like to bury and will dig their way out if given the opportunity.  I have started by selecting an unused area of the deck around my pool.  The deck had a natural corner so I used the existing sizes as two of the walls saving me money on lumber cost.  

After the location is selected measure how large you want the habitat to be and decide how deep of an area you would like (I chose to make it 1 foot high).  The dimensions will be determined by your location and/ or the dimensions of lumber you may be repurposing.  If you can reuse any lumber from around the house this is preferred and great for the environment (and your wallet).

I purchased a 2x12x12 for the sides of the structure and repurposed a few boards for the roof.  The door will be created using 2x1x10 cut to size.
Do more like this!
Could u do how to build a terrarium for a Greek tortoise or tortoise
Looks like a few we've rescued from the middle of the road.
wmurray13 years ago
Hi, I was reading about tomatoes and thought your comment on stopping the ripening process was interesting & was looking for further info on that. THEN I found your tortoise stuff and your tortoise is sO cute! Will you or do you have some kind of updates on UTube or on Instructables or a blog with photos/vidoes/stories about George? I think he's awesome.
Uptonb3 years ago
Good luck on the Pets Challenge.
stevequag (author)  Uptonb3 years ago
thank you, keeping my fingers crossed :)
Aero94 years ago
Well that's a fantastic design. Do you thinks it possible to build one in a yard? And that is a great tortoise!
stevequag (author)  Aero94 years ago
Absolutely, this would work great in a yard. I do, however, suggests Hmong some cement tiles a few inches below the grass so that the tortoise cannot dig their way out. Tortoises, sulcatas in particular, are know for digging under fences and taking off, they are very curious creatures.
jhamann4 years ago
I would really suggest you read up on the requirements of your sulcata. They need some sort of substrate other than hard floor. Take a look at www.turtleforum.com

This is fine for a couple hours a day, but a poor quality of life without a more natural habitat
stevequag (author)  jhamann4 years ago
Thank you for the input and suggestion. I do offer my tortoise some different terrain and have read up on a ton (perhaps all) discussions on the proper care regarding living quarters, food, health, etc. In step 5 I discuss adding hay, sand, soil, etc to give the little guy places to burrow and hide from the elements. I do realize that ideally George would live in a climate designed to mock the dry grasslands of Africa, however I feel I have done my best to make him as comfortable and healthy as possible in an unnatural habitat.

Do you own a tortoise yourself?
I have 9 3toe boxies and 1 Western painted. I would love to have a sulcata but with a typical city backyard, there would be no way I could properly keep it happy. They can grow to be huge and can mow down a typical yard in no time. Once he's a little larger, he will be able to take over your whole yard. At that point, no sprays, pesticides, fertilizer please. They can get sick very easily with that stuff.
you got my vote
1) Because its a mother fricking turtle
2) the creepy pic
and 3) Your posted a vid of the turtle eating.
hands down best instructable n/a
I concur!
vishalapr4 years ago
That's an awesome turtly you have got there!
No vishalapar, it's a TORTOISE. ;-D

Good job and great ible. Love that George, too. You get my vote.

I'm even more impressed that a broke college student owns a house with a pool!

NONONONON Its a Turtle!
stevequag (author)  vishalapr4 years ago
Its a tortoise, tortoises are dry land creatures and turtles are aquatic. Vishalapar
oh! Didn't know that!
He knows that. The guy is just being goofy!!! ;-O)