30 DIY Tortoise Enclosure Ideas For A Natural Haven

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Being able to provide your favorite tortoise with a natural sanctuary is a pleasant and rewarding task. For their well-being and general contentment, it is crucial to provide an enclosure that closely resembles their native environment.  You may turn the area where the tortoises live into a flourishing natural paradise by using these do-it-yourself enclosure solutions.

Determine the size and materials for your DIY tortoise enclosure, including hiding and basking spaces, use the suitable substrate, add rocks, logs, and flora, and install the right lighting and heating. By taking these measures, you may provide a safe and interesting environment for your tortoise.

This post will provide a variety of original and do-it-yourself suggestions for improving the cage for your tortoise. We’ll cover everything, from selecting substrates that encourage natural behavior to adding different enrichments and hiding places. 

Get ready to unleash the full potential of the environment in which your tortoise lives and provide a natural sanctuary in which they may flourish.

30 DIY Tortoise Enclosure Ideas

1. Hobbit Style Tortoise Habitat

MaterialsDoors, light, heater, filter, plants, etc.
Difficulty levelChallenging

Start by building a robust structure that resembles a hobbit home to create a habitat for tortoises with a ‘hobbit house’ motif. To provide your tortoise with easy access, add two entrance locations with doors. To provide some heat, install a warm white light inside the home.

Build a working “3-layered pond/brook” water feature after that, making sure there is enough filtration and water movement. Finally, add fairy lights and plants to the enclosure to create a wonderful aura that will be particularly noticeable at night.

2. Earthly Tortoise Oasis

MaterialsClay pot and tray, pebbles, water, soil substrate, branch, milkweed, tetrasperma, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

Using these do-it-yourself methods, create a natural habitat for your tortoise. Create an organic soil substrate first. Large stones with a fitting clay water tray should be placed on one side.

Include a clay pot that is empty for concealment. Tetrasperma and milkweed should be planted throughout, and a huge white branch should be positioned in the center for climbing.

3. Old Wardrobe Tortoise Habitat

MaterialsCoconut chip substrate, twigs, water bowl, food bowl, lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

With coconut chip substrate, a twig hiding place, water and feeding bowls, a resting stone under a light, and a walk-in concealing shade, you can create a tortoise paradise. Make a welcoming environment that supports your tortoise’s comfort and well-being.

4. Grassland Retreat

MaterialsClay pot, tray, soil, grass, plants, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

You may make a natural habitat for tortoises by using organic soil as the base and growing grass that is native to the area. Put a pot without anything in it to use as a hiding spot, and put a clay tray to use as a water container.

Within the enclosure, include plants such as lettuce and strawberry, and lay stones in such a manner that they form a walkway.

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5. Two-Storeyed Enclosure

MaterialsSubstrate, clay pot, food and water bowl, lamp, plants, grass, ramp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

While constructing a two-story wooden cage for the tortoise, make sure to include a ramp for easy access to the top level and a concealed place beneath. The best bedding for tortoises is commercially available tortoise substrate.

Put a clay pot without anything in it on the upper level, and put bowls of food and water on the bottom level. Improve the appearance of the area by adding grass and spider plants. To ensure that there is sufficient light, mount a bulb straight above.

6. Serenity Enclosure For Tortoises

MaterialsOrganic soil and coconut fiber substrate, water bowl, basking rock, twigs, clay pots, plants, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

Start with a substrate made of coconut fiber and organic soil to create a home for tortoises that is both natural and interesting. Place a water jug there and make a climbing structure for a hiding place out of twigs.

Set up empty pots with substrate halfway filled to imitate caves. Plant spider plants that are favorable to tortoises and include a basking stone. Create a covered place for seclusion and a twig bridge for climbing and hiding.

7. Enclosure With Five Elements

MaterialsCoconut chip substrate, lamp, water bowl, food bowl, hiding cave.
Difficulty levelEasy

With only five items from any pet shop, you can make the simplest habitat for a tortoise. Use a substrate made of coconut chips for your tortoise’s maximum comfort.

At each of the four corners of your cage, place a water dish, food bowl, cave for hiding and resting, and a light. And there it is—the most straightforward cage for your tortoise!

8. Simple Tranquil Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsCoconut chip and fiber substrate, lamp, water container, food platform, grass, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

Here is another easy DIY tortoise enclosure that you can make with a few simple, store-bought elements. Fill your wooden enclosure with coconut chip and fiber substrate, and place a water container and a food station or platform at two corners.

At one corner make a hiding spot with a wooden wall and cover, and lastly put a good lamp over the enclosure. Dont forget to plant some grass under the hiding spot.

9. Warmtone Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsCoconut chip substrate, hollow log, sphagnum moss, thermometer, plant, water, food bowl, basking rock, lamp, etc
Difficulty levelModerate

To recreate this organized tortoise enclosure first you will need to as coconut or wooden chip substrate that your tort buddy will be able to dig, add a hollow log for hiding space, and half-fill it with sphagnum moss.

Place a water container, cactus plant,  and food bowl at two corners, and place a large basking stone. To finish it up place a large branch around it, a thermometer, and a lamp right above!

10. Slick Black Sand Enclosure

MaterialsBlack grainy sand, wooden chips, water, and food bowl, a hollow log, a basking rock, a thermometer, a lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

To create this unique enclosure use black grainy sand as substrate and surround the boundary of the enclosure with wooden chips, place a food bowl at one corner and a hollow log for hiding at another corner.

In the middle place a decorative flower plant, basking rock, and a water bowl on the beautiful grainy black sand. Dont forget to install a thermometer and a lamp directly over the enclosure.

11. Wood-Chip Cozy Enclosure

MaterialsWood chips, hollow log, branch, rock, water and food bowl, lamps, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate 

Transform your tortoise enclosure to this warm cozy wood chip habitat by using the most simple elements! Use wood chips as substrate and carefully place the hollow log, food, and water bowl on the substrate, and place rocks to climb and jump. Complete the enclosure with a good-quality lamp to ensure your tortoise’s well-being.

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12. Leafy Tortoise Retreat

MaterialsSoil, plants, cacti, grass, lamps, food, water bowl, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

To create a natural ambiance for your tortoises, use organic soil as substrate and plant native grasses around the corners of the enclosure.

To add some greeneries place plant pots of different cacti, and milkweeds on the surface of the enclosure wall. Provide a hiding spot for some privacy of your li’l buddies and the most important lamp over the enclosure.

13. Extended Loft Enclosure

MaterialsCoconut fiber, basking rock, Clay pot, twigs, grass, ramp, lamp, etc
Difficulty levelChallenging

For this two-storeyed loft, you will need coconut fiber substrate on the surface of the bottom level decorated with an empty pot, basking rock and food, and a water bowl.

To make the path to the top floor make a ramp with hardboard and use twigs for making a boundary wall. Use grass on the surface of the top level. Not to mention provide a good lamp over the enclosure.

14. Rustic Tortoise Refuge

MaterialsGrainy sand, spider plants, twigs, lamp, water and food bowl, stones, ramp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

To recreate this enclosure first use grainy sand as substrate and put water, and a food bowl, place stones here and therefore the tortoise as support and to climb.

Make a ramp to go to the top floor where you can plant slider plants for hiding, munching, and adding some greenery. Underneath the top floor provide coverage for some privacy.

15. Window Lid Enclosure

MaterialsWindow lid, wood chip, water, food bowl, succulent, grass, pebbles, lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

In order to create this beautiful tortoise enclosure fill the bottom of the habitat with organic soil and wood chips and layer it with some pebbles on the side.

Secure the water bowl and food bowl in the pebbles. At one corner make an area with large pebbles for a garden where you can plant some grass or other plants, lastly, place a lamp over the top carefully and add lids like a window for a beautiful top view.

16. Bamboo Stick Enclosure

MaterialsBamboo sticks, hollow logs, water and food bowl, stones, lamp, spider plant, lucky bamboo plant, cave, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

As the name suggests, you will require bamboo sticks to decorate the inside of the enclosure. First, add some soil mixed with sand as substrate followed by adding a hollow log for hiding underneath or climbing over and some food and waterbowl.

Dont leave out basking rock and lamp as well. For some privacy and resting use the bamboo sticks to separate the enclosure and add a nice white cave for a hideout.

17. Garden Oasis For Tortoises

MaterialsOrganic soil, plants, lamp, water bowl, food stone, rocks, clay pot. etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

Recreate this beautiful garden-themed tortoise enclosure starting with filling the enclosure with organic soil, followed by surrounding the edge of the enclosure with different plants like a spider plant, peace lilies, lettuce, strawberries, etc.

plants of your choice in pots. On one side place a food stone, water bowl, and twig bridge to go under and climb over. 

18. Tortoise Haven

MaterialsBushy plant, water bowl, food rock, organic soil, wood ramp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

This gorgeous enclosure for your tortoise will be no less than a haven for your tort bud. To create this first you’ll need a wooden enclosure and make a covered area with walls at one edge of the enclosure for resting and privacy.

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 Make a ramp surrounded by a bushy plant, leading from the hideaway to the water bowl. Place a food rock beside and on the other side plant Thai grass, lettuce, and other tortoise-friendly plants.

19. Backyard Baby Tortoise Garden Enclosure

MaterialsElevated garden bed basket, plants, herbs, pond liner, gravels, organic soil, etc.
Difficulty levelChallenging

First, fill up the elevated garden basket with gravel and place a pond liner over it followed by an organic soil layer. Plant different plants and herbs that are safe for tortoises to chew on like marigolds, lavender, creeping flocks, stonecrops, rosemary,  etc.

lace the staple driftwood for hiding and resting. Provide a resting stone and the water tray and you’re good to go!

20. Sophisticated Indoor Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsCood, coconut fiber, fern, cactus, gravels, water tray, twigs, pebble stones, sand, resting pad, lamp, etc.
Difficulty levelChallenging

To make this DIY two-storeyed enclosure you will require to cut out hardboard pieces and put them together to create a ramp leading to the top deck while providing a hideaway underneath. Fill the upper level with sand, a resting pad, and a cactus plant.

Decorate the downstairs with organic soil, ferns, cacti, twigs, and stones. At one corner provide a cave hiding spot and a water tray.

21. Budget-Friendly Enclosure

MaterialsCoconut chip substrate, water dish, plastic tub, hollow log, lettuce
Difficulty levelEasy

If you are looking for a tortoise enclosure on a budget, this is the perfect DIY enclosure for you. Start with filling a plastic tub with coconut hip substrate. Next, put a hollow fiber at one spot as its hiding cave and a water bowl at the other end. Plant lettuce for mandatory vegetation.

22. Glassy Zen Enclosure

MaterialsGlass enclosure, soil, coconut chip substrate, plants, branch, cactus, water and food bowl, resting rock, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

This minimal glass wall enclosure will definitely increase the beauty of your home. To prepare this zen habitat for your tortoise fill the enclosure with soil and serially install plants, stones, and branches at one side of the enclosure.

Put an empty pot for hiding and resting. On the other side put some coconut chips and a long sturdy branch as well as a resting rock, food, and water bowl. And you’re done!

23. Tortoise Table House

MaterialsWooden enclosure, pond liner, organic soil and coconut fiber substrate, hollow log, decorative plant and plastic terracotta tray, cuttlebone, feeding, and basking slate, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

Fill up your wooden enclosure with pond liner, organic soil, and coconut fiber substrate, place a hollow log at one end, followed by adding a decorative plant over the log and a plastic terracotta tray for water.

Place a  cuttlebone for nibbling and finish it off with feeding and basking slate.

24. Large Outdoor Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsWood, wire net, stone bricks, slate, water tray, etc.
Difficulty levelChallenging

Make a 4X8 feet wooden enclosure and use a wire net to keep predators out.  Place white stones and organic soil as substrate.

Use large stone bricks and a flat rock to make a cave for hiding and resting. Add a large plastic terracotta tray for water and feeding and resting slate in the middle or side,

25. Clear Tub Tortoise Oasis

MaterialsClear plastic tub, coconut fiber, organic soil substrate, lamp, water and food bowl, hollow log, aloe vera plants, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

Utilize a rectangular clear plastic tub (40 gallons) and fill it up with coconut fiber and soil substrate. Level up the enclosure by planting some aloe vera plants on each side.

Add a hollow log for hiding beside which you will set the water dish and on the other side set the food bowl. Place the basking spot directly under the lamp.

26. 5 Step Easy Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsPlastic tub, coconut fiber substrate, hibiscus plant, clay tray, and pot.
Difficulty levelEasy

Use a black plastic tub and a few other items to recreate this enclosure. Fill the tub with a coconut substrate and sequentially add a hollow lod, clay water tray, and pot placed sidewise for hiding and resting.

To make it unique plant a large size hibiscus plant on one corner. And you’ve got your tortoise buddy an amazing easy enclosure!

27. Woody Natural Setup Enclosure

MaterialsWooden enclosure, wood chip substrate, clay water tray, grass plant, twig cave, lamp, stone, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

This habitat is one of the simple minimal DIYs that you easily recreate. In order to make this, first, cut out wood pieces of your preferred size and nail them down and add clamps.

Add wood chips as substrate and carefully add the necessities like a twig cave to hide under and climb over, stones, a clay water tray, a grass plant for vegetation, and lastly the most important lamp. Carefully place it over an empty spot where your tortoise will be able to bask in peace.

28. Serene Shell Sanctuary

MaterialsWood, lamp, clay trays, pebbles, coconut fiber and soil, petunias plant, twig ramp, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

This DIY tortoise enclosure video could be your ultimate guide to an enclosure setup! First start with building the enclosure of your preferred size with wood. The unique part about this is the open side walls and over-the-head lid.

Carefully add coconut fiber and soil substrate and a twig ramp leading to the covered area with the lamp. Add water dishes and secure them in place with pebbles. Add a petunias plant for your tortoise to nibble on.

29. Eco-Tortoise Paradise

MaterialsWood, wire net, ferns, lamp, stones, water container, etc.
Difficulty levelModerate

Make the enclosure by joining the wooden walls and adding a wire net lid for protection. Cover one side of the enclosure and provide a cutout for the tortoise to enter the private zone. Add a lamp over the wire net lid. Add soil and sandy substrate to make it like a natural environment.

Place a water dish, food bowl, basking stone, branch, and some fern plants and you’re good to go!

30. Russian Tortoise Enclosure

MaterialsHollow log, lamp, soil substrate, wooden chips, stones, water, food container, etc.
Difficulty levelEasy

Make a wooden enclosure with one glass side. Ad soil substrate and spread some wood chips. Place a hollow log on one side diagonally so that your tortoise can hide under it.

Carefully add the water dish and secure it in the ground properly. throw some stones and logs around, as well as add a cactus. Install a lamp directly over the side where you made the resting area with wood chips. 

Before You Go…

Making a natural hideaway for your pet reptile with a DIY tortoise enclosure is a gratifying experience. You may create an engaging environment that meets their requirements by choosing the substrate with care, including hiding places and adding the right plants.

Check out our linked post, “25 DIY Box Turtle Habitat Ideas & Inspirations For Beginners”  for information on how to maintain a healthy and balanced environment for your turtles’ general wellbeing.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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