Introduction: Tortoise Table
I built a tortoise table for my daughters christmas present, a Russian tortoise that she had been asking for the last three years. I did not think of making an instructable until I was done making it and realized it turned out pretty good and the concept is really simple. I tried to take pictures from key features as well as a drawing of the side view.
This are the supplies that I used:
Three particle board shelf 12"x36"X11"
Eco carpet 12"x36"
Lumber: 1 piece of 2"X1"x8'
1 piece of 2"x2"x8'
1 piece of 2"x4"X11"
1 1/2" #8 wood screws
Medium weight shower curtain
Gorilla packing tape
1/2" PVC 40 schedule pipe 24" long
1/2" conduit strap(X2 pieces)
1 1/2" screw with nut (X2 pieces)
Step 1: The Plan
It's simple, make a tortoise table with a platform to set the water and food container that will prevent them from flipping over, an issue commonly seen when the food dish sits on the soil/reptile earth or whatever is being used. On the drawing you can see that I planned the usual rectangular tortoise table and since we have a toddler in the house, I made the legs short so that she can see the tortoise without pulling on the table; also I built a platform with piece of plywood as wide as the table but only 12" long, this sits on two pieces of 2"x4".
Step 2: Building the Table
I used particle board shelfs that I had store if the garage for a couple of years now, I think this are 12"x36"X11" an the bottom piece came from an old computer desk, the hole table measures 12" high x 36" long x 18" wide, the platform is 16" wide x 12" long and sits 4" high which creates a nice deep table floor for the tortoise to bury it self once filled with your substrate of choice, I used coconut coir and "eco carpet" (or something like that) from the pet store for the platform (the green part seen in the picture), I used gorilla glue and screws to hold the table together but make your you make pilot holes to avoid cracking the wood when trying to screw the pieces together. I did the same thing on the legs. Once the table is made I built the platform by inside by attaching the two pieces of 2"x4" which will give it the height. Then line the bottom of the inside of the table with the shower curtain and cut the sides to a height equal the the height of the platform, secure it with gorilla tape all the way around to prevented from coming off (substitute gorilla brand at your own risk) and go over the platform with the curtain (the curtain will prevent moisture to reach the wood) you may staple the Eco carpet to the platform.
Step 3: Custom Height Adjustable Lamp Holder
For the lamp holder we use the pvc pipe and heat gun to bend it, take the pipe and apply heat about 8" away from one end, this will allow you to bend the pipe slowly but don't heat it too long, apply some pressure to the pipe as to bend the pipe as you apply heat to it and stop the heat once the pipe starts to bend, continue heating and bending until desired angle is achieve (you may make holder longer) making sure the vertical side is longer since we will be able to adjust the height of the lamp with the conduit strap. Now make a slight cut/notch on top of the end where the lamp will be hanging from, this will keep the lamp from moving along the pipe. Attach the conduit strap close to an outside corner of the table where the basking spot will be, I first held the pipe against the outside of the table and moved it around to see where it will be the best place to attach it, then drill a hole on the table close to the top and attach one conduit strap with a screw and nut, then just adjust the pipe and attach the second conduit strap. Now you can mount the lamp hanging it from the notch and hold it with a zip tie, also zip tie the power cord to the top of the pipe to keep a clean and organized look. That's it!!! You may adjust the height of the lamp by loosing the screws on the conduit strap, adjust and the re-tighten the screws. I apologize that this wasn't really a step-by-step instructable but didn't thought about making one until I was done, just wanted to offer and overall idea of how to go about making the table and I haven't seen and adjustable lamp like the one I came out with and wanted to share it. Thanks.
7 years ago
Lovely idea! As a reptile owner I'm happy to see that you've provided a decent amount of space for the tortoise to roam and that your plan includes the UVB lamp needed for proper development. Are you giving the tortoise a daily soak outside the table environment? If not, my only suggestion would be to add a shallow soaking tub/ bowl on the substrate end.
Reply 7 years ago
He gets a daily soak by my daughter and gets vitamins and calcium supplement on his spring mix salad, my daughter loves him and I see she takes great care of the tortoise and her self by washing her hands every time she handles her pet or the food/water dishes. Turned out to be a great incentive for her to be more responsible. Thanks for your comment.
Reply 7 years ago
Love it! Wishing them a long friendship together. I got my first gecko when I was 14 and it started a real love of reptiles. I now have 10 leopard geckos and some have been with me almost a decade. I think that is going to be a very happy tortoise!