Tortoise Vivarium Reviews and
Three - Tortoise Table
Recently we undertook
a very detailed series
of measurements and conducted the most comprehensive tests and
reviews ever carried
out on the different types of indoor habitat available for tortoises.
The third part of
this report is now available, and it discusses our findings on a
typical 'Tortoise Table' type open-topped terrarium. See links above
for earlier reports on other types of vivarium.
A 50 mm deep mixed topsoil and sand substrate was added.
A wooden gantry arrangement to permit the fixture of heating and lighting is all that is required to complete the unit. The total cost of the unit we made for this test was £24.00 (approximately 27 Euros or $38.00), excluding electrical parts which can be selected as required. We chose to install a 160 watt Mega Ray lamp in a ceramic holder for this test as it would be typical of a set-up intended for Mediterranean, Russian or Leopard tortoises.
The overhead lighting support beam offers a high degree of flexibility to install alternate forms of light and heat, however. For example, ceramic heaters can be installed where some overnight heat is required, or a fluorescent tube could be used, or multiple lower wattage lamps fitted, or a combination of various types. Whichever form of heat and light is used, it is important that it is selected to match the requirements of the species being maintained.
This was also the simplest unit to test as there was only one heat source involved and because the overall design and construction of this type of habitat is so basic.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL TEST REPORT HERE
(Adobe PDF Reader 6.0 or above required)
On the basis of these tests, provided they are installed and operated correctly, the open-topped ‘Table’ type design offers a very acceptable and low cost method of housing a wide range of semi-arid habitat tortoises indoors. They are less suitable for high humidity tropical species unless special measures are taken. Suitable models of ‘Tortoise Table’ can be purchased ready made, or home construction from readily available materials is also possible. Of the three designs tested, only the open-topped design produced a safe and satisfactory range of basking temperatures combined with an adequate temperature gradient. Both enclosed designs failed completely. The ‘Tortoise Table’ design was also the only unit to produce the necessary combination of UV-B and radiant heat levels necessary for self-synthesis of vitamin D3 in tortoises.