Both main groups of tortoises have similar accommodation. their summer pens comprise of a large enclosure made up of 12″ concrete gravel boards dug a few inches into the ground with 3′ wooden panels above, (see photo), all pens have access to a greenhouse. Each greenhouse and pen is split so males can be separated off from the females if they become too aggressive. The greenhouses have both UVB and infrared lights wired to a thermostat set at 30C, and timer set to come on at 8am and off at 8pm. There is a mixture of soil, peat and sand, kept slightly damp and heaped into a mound under the lights. This is for the females to lay eggs into.
Tomatoes are grown for the tortoises treats above them in the north and east sides. The pens have a shallow concrete bowl in them 11/2″ -2″ deep for the tortoises to bathe in and a variety of logs and rocks for them to hide under and behind. Plants for food and shade are also provided with dandelions and clover growing in abundance.
Inside accommodation is in a brick building (formally calf pens) where we have two large pens 8’x16′ and four 8’x8′. Males can be separated off into these smaller pens when required and isolation pens are available if needed for any requiring special treatment. All these pens have UVB and infra-red lights which are on timers. In addition each pen has a wooden box 4′ X 2′ with a 2′ 80w tubular heater regulated by a thermostat set at 15°C inside.
These boxes have shredded paper in them. I have tried bark chippings on the floor of the pens as a substrate but I find Irish moss peat as good as anything and it can be used on your flower borders afterwards. Water is always provided in shallow plant saucers.