Tortoise Habitat – Building Your Sulcata Tortoise’s Home

When having a sulcata as a pet, or any other exotic animal for that matter, it is usually common or considered as a standard operating procedure to imitate its natural habitat. Or at least, consider the various factors that make up its habitat in the wild. Hence, when you are planning to build your shelter, remember that there are quite a number of things that you should bear in mind. Before anything else, learning about its natural habitat would be great for you to be more acquainted with the nature of your new pet. Being a species of the desert, sulcatas are used to hot and arid environments in the wild.

They belong to the Sahel region in Africa which means that they have evolved with the presence of a lot of natural sunlight in a dry environment. The amount of water available to them is also very limited and humidity can reach very high levels. This is the reason why they are known to be able burrowers – they excavate burrows up to several feet deep for them to shelter themselves from the extreme heat that can sweep through the desert. They spend the warmest parts of the days in these burrows which show how they, too, can be vulnerable to heat. These are just some of the things that you should take note of when you are to proceed in building a shelter for your pet sulcata at home. Building a house for them while bearing all of the aforementioned in mind isn’t at all that easy, so the question is, how do you begin? Read on to be further enlightened.

When you first get hold of one, it will be so tiny that it can literally fit in the palm of your hand. Very cute and adorable as they may seem to be, you should keep in mind that one day they will grow to be the huge tortoises that they ought to be. Don’t be surprised when you notice that the growth in their size can happen fast. Thus, it is best to come prepared and build a shelter just in time for them to have a place where they can roam around without any trouble. This comes with no wonder as sulcatas are the third largest out of all the species. So, the question is, how do you come up with a house that will bring your pet protection and safety as they mature? Like what has been mentioned earlier, bear in mind the conditions that they live with in the wild so you may give them a shelter that is fit for their nature.

When your pet’s weight is less than 15 pounds, it is best that you build them an indoor shelter which would be an ideal place for them to stay in when night comes. Bring your tortoises to their outdoor shelter during daytime. Keep it dry inside and it is recommended for a heat source to be present. Their house should be large enough for them to be able to roam around in, a lean-to or dog house would be an ideal set-up for this.


Baby African Spurred Tortoise. Photo: Bigstock

Baby African Spurred Tortoise. Photo: Bigstock

Also, other than shade, don’t forget to also provide a place where they may be exposed to sunlight for their outdoor shelter. UVB is important for these tortoises as it is a source of vitamin D3 which helps in their shell’s growth. Aside from light and warmth, water should be readily available to these tortoises. Having a water bowl at a corner of their shelter will help them keep hydrated. Take note that this water bowl should be the right size, it should be shallow enough so that they won’t end up climbing in it. For the base of their shelter, having a mixture of both sand and soil is recommended. Moreover, even though the humidity levels in a sulcata’s natural habitat can be very high, they are actually used to lower levels of humidity as they spend much of their time in burrows to cool down.

You can do it DIY (Do-It-Yourself) or ask the assistance of someone else more skilled when it comes to building your shelter. Just make sure that important conditions are met to ensure that your pet will be at ease with its new home. If you want to learn more about the details of setting up a house for your pet, you may check Sulcata Station for an even more extensive view of the tortoise habitat that you intend to build.