|Posted on October 7, 2012 at 10:10 PM|
4 of these little Eastern Box Turtle hatchlings need a home, and so we made one.
Designing and building a "Tortoise Table".
This "Tort Table" was built to house Eastern Box Turtle hatchlings, requiring very specific needs to ensure there survival.
Some of the needs of the design were;
Humidity and temperature control,
ability to retain water as well as proper drainage, mobility in order to roll outdoors on sunny days,
appearance being partly kept as an indoor enclosure,
durability and weather resistance,
plantable for live plants,
and ease of access for daily care and observation.
Protection from predators.
2'x4' table top area, the walls are about 11" high. The whole table stands at about 4' high, good for observation sitting or standing.
The boxed area itself is cabinet grade plywood, only the legs are pressure treated. Screwed together with galvanized deck screws.
prepping for stain and finish coat
Red Mohagany Minwax stain
2 coats of stain.
3 coats of Helmsman Polyurethane.
The interior of the table lined with 1/8 plexiglass.
The front viewing window only exposing a portion of the table will give the turtles some private areas to be left alone.
All corners and edges sealed with silicone.
We mounted wheels to the legs.
We put a small red light in the private room area, for heat and night viewing.
You can see the trapped moisture in the photo on the floor of the table. This was an unforeseen problem, we found a simple solution.
The floor was raised with cork spacers, giving a nice air cushion between the wood and plexi, very much like an insulated window. This will help with temperature as well as moisture.
Drilled weep holes in the bottom underneath the table for moisture to escape.
Next a hatch for the side room area. I chose white plexiglass, as it filters harsh sun, yet still allows light to pass, the red nightlight is inside, so it should light up the white plexi nicely.
Next I built screen doors for the top, these will protect the babies from birds, insects, harsh sun and help hold some humidity in the table still allowing good ventilation.
Next is the fun part, micro gardening!
We put a mixture of organic soil, light top soil, coconut fiber, and various mosses.
In the corner in the marble cup is a micro fogger, slowly dispensing mositure into there environment, it also provides warmth and fresh water into there mini pond.
I fabricated the pond out of a piece of square acrylic. Using heat and a mold to bend it into a suitable contour, then adding sand while in its melting state to create a good grib natural surface to crawl on.
Plants are, several wild mosses growing, moss rose, asparagus fern, wheat grass, oregano, several succulents, strawberries, parsley,
A small 2' x 4' indoor garden, facing the same challenges as any garden, just on a micro scale.
I added a drain to the table to keep water from stagnating on the bottom. This breed of turtle hatchling requires alot of moisture until it matures. With a drain, the buckets needs occasional emptying, the soil filters alot of waste and cleans itself thru its drainage.
The industrial sponge will work as a sort of filter over the drain to prevent soil from pouring out of the bottom.
Time for some rest.
Stay tuned for baby turtles......
Categories: Backyard wildlife