I replaced all of the substrate in Harriet’s enclosure with fresh Eco Earth, and I think she noticed because she’s been digging around in it all day… as you can see from all that dirt stuck to her face lol. Here she is, filled with energy and ready to run around a bit!

now THAT is one happy shell baby!


It’s been almost seven years since I got this dork. He was so happy when we took him from a woodchip filled vivarium to a proper table with soil substrate, and he has enriched our lives so much. I got him a dandelion flower for his birthday. Can’t believe he’s turning ten already! They grow up so fast. ;’) 

Happy birthday Fitzy!!!

Happy Birthday, Fitzy!!!

I’m so happy you found a forever home with humans willing ti give you the care you need to grow happy and healthy! It’s incredible what a difference proper husbandry makes.  Heres to another 10 years!

Friends! Have you seen the adorable pancake tortoises  @courtnashe  has shared with us? Well, she has created an incredibly well-researched care sheet for those looking to care for Pancake tortoises!

Pancake Tortoise Care Sheet  http://www.tortoiseforum.org/threads/pancake-care-sheet.159222/

Finding a quality care sheet based on well-researched information and experience is vital to raising a happy and healthy tort. Check this care sheet out and share it with anyone caring for or looking to care for pancake tortoises!

In related news: 

We are starting a master list of quality care sheets! There’s an incredible amount of bad information out there on how to care for turtles and torts and sadly that information seems to be what’s most accessible and most frequently put in the hands of first-time owners.  So, let’s band together and create a place where you can find quality care sheets on as many species of turtles and tortoises as possible!  

If you know of a quality, thorough, and well-researched care sheet for a particular species of turtle or tortoise send them along! We’re trying to verify the quality of information of everything we put on the list so all input is helpful. If you’re interested in helping out with this project, please message as well!


Not snakes, but: this is what I spent my day doing: Building an enclosure for the Russian tortoise I’m adopting from a rescue.

Here’s the current state of the enclosure.

It’s set up on the back porch of our house.

It’s almost done – I’ll just shovel some more substrate in there, and throw in some straw, bark chips, etc.

To make sure no roaming animals (like raccoons) can harm the tortoise, every night I will be putting it inside the cage, where it will have some room to move about and bask in the morning until I let it out to the large corral when I get up. The cage has a heat mat on a thermostat to make sure that the tortie is warm on chilly nights.

Over time, I want to get some plants growing in there too, like plantago and dandelion. See if they have a chance to grow with a tortoise roaming the corral.

Regardless, I will be growing plantago, dandies, and chicory, as well as prickly pear in my back yard to feed the tort, so it can demolish the plants in its enclosure all it wants!

HOLY AMAZING!!! you’ve built a kingdom any tortoise would be proud to dominate!


This is one of the best aquatic turtle enclosures I have ever seen. While it seems over the top, everything present is necessary for happy, healthy turtles. At least 100 gallons of water, filter, heater, basking lamp, UV light, haul out area, and dry land. If all aquatic turtles were kept this way I’d never see any because they would rarely get sick.

Source Unknown.

This is fantastic!

calling all tortoise experts




is a tortoise table like this a good idea for a ~2-yr-old russian tortoise, or is it too small? my poor guy is living in a tank right now and im trying to find a better alternative

I’m in a studio apartment right now so an outdoor pen isn’t an option, and there’s not really room for a 50-gal tub. 

Hmm.. I can’t be sure looking at it there.. it looks a bit small. What kind of tortoise? More space will surely be necessary in a year or two if it isn’t now. Try levels? Zoya and I live in a studio and twell she’s lucky she’s so cute cause she gets a good 3rd of the place to herself hah.

ETA: I’m the worst (and super tired sorry!) you said russian tortoise. That might be ok for a very temporary situation but your little one will surely climb out of that when you’re not looking. Don’t underestimate shell skills hah

That is super tiny and really isn’t suited to any size torty. A tip for a hatchling is to look at xl indoor rabbit cages as they’re usually sold 2nd hand very cheaply. You really don’t need the hide most tortoise tables have built in. With the right bedding (top soil all the way!) your tortoise should dig down at night anyway and you can provide hides if you want without it taking up a ton of room. Honestly 4x2ft is really the minimum i’d recommend for any healthy hatchling. They need lots of exercise to be able to even digest their food and keep healthy. An hour outside their table really isn’t a substitute. This rabbit cage is the same price, bigger and would be suitable for a good couple of years. Another alternative is a C&C style cage, provided you can block off the see-through pannel bottoms with plastic after you fill it with soil. They’re also great for adding lofts!

For an adult russian torty an indoor enclosure size should really be 6ft x 2ft at a minimum. If you don’t have the square footage for that then go up! A safe, boxed in gentle ramp they can’t climb out of/over means you can have an enclosure that’s huge for relatively little actual floor space. If you don’t want the C&C style one, you’d either need to build it yourself or work with a local handyman. 

Pro-tip sterilized top soil makes great natural bedding for all of the above plus its super cheap and you can grow them plants in it. Remember though: If the enclosure is wooden you need to protect and waterproof the wood by lining it with plastic, an old shower curtain from the pound/dollar store is a great robust cheap choice 🙂 

Awesome info, presented in a far more coherent manner than this human is currently capable of!