A hiding spot provides shelter and relieves stressful situations. Your tortoise needs to be able to hide from rain, extreme temperatures, wind, provides shade and aggressive males wanting to mate the female or mess with weaker males as well as to use when they hibernate. You will need two types of hiding spots:
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A) First, you will need to provide one fully enclosed hiding spot especially useful for hibernation, rough weather and egg laying. The substrate needs to be well-drained sandy soil 30 cm deep (1 foot) for your tortoise to dig into and regulate his temperature. If your soil is not ideal then replace with sand or gravel and lay hay on top. There are many commercial grade hiding spots that you can purchase like the picture shown on the left. Other options include:
- Commercial grade small dog house
- Upside down plastic storage bin (with entrance cut into one of the sides)
B) The second type of hiding spot will consist of plants or other objects like a good-sized rock. Many plants like fountain grass do an excellent job and they can crawl into many of these plants.
They will not be hibernation or laying eggs here but this provides a quick getaway for shade or visual barrier.
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The best hiding spot setup is to have at least one A type “fully enclosed” spot and two or more B types.
You are not only limited to these listed above. You can make a hiding spot out of anything under the sun that is safe for your pet. Just remember that the hiding spot needs to be dry and in a well-drained area. Such ideas include:
- Box out of wood that has been sealed and finished
- Concrete or brick blocks and a sturdy roof
- Hollow log
- Small garbage can
- Large clay or PVC pipe
- Small shed
A hiding spot can be made out of anything like a container turned upside down with cut out entrance or a small dog house. It needs to have visible barriers, meaning you cannot see through the walls. This is important because they need a private area to feel secure and provide shade as well as a place to lay egg. Hibernation is the only activity your Horsefield will not be doing indoors with a hiding spot, contrary to outside housing. Also, for the females and subordinate males to get away from aggressive males if there area multiple tortoises in the same pen. For inside housing the bedding needs to be at least 6 inches of sandy soil with grass and hay on top.
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