Although you can get by with providing 1 square meter (10.7 square feet) of space it is best to provide more. Especially being outside you can usually provide more space than inside your house. For the happiest and healthiest tortoise provide 1.8 x 3 meters (6 x 10 ft.). You can fit several Horsefield’s in this space. You can provide housing even larger than that but it must be manageable, you don’t want to loose him! Set the space up where it will receive both sunlight and shade. When looking for a spot, focus more on sunlight because you can create shade, as I explain in “Hiding Spot” and “Plants & Shrubs” sections. Choose a spot that is dry and well drained.
The average Horsefield pet owner has less space to offer indoors but the bigger the area you can provide the better. An adult needs a minimum of 1 square meter (10.7 square feet) of housing. If there is an area in your house that can provide more space than 1 square meter (10.7 square feet) that definitely use it. With a good amount of space, your Horsefield will feel much more at home and peaceful. Having a larger area to live in and less stress with enable him to live a much happier and healthier life.
Separate enclosures may be required for each sex. This would be necessary if you don’t plan on breeding or if the male is aggressive with the female, which can often happen.
Many animals can kill a Horsefield including rats, dogs, coyotes, possums, curious child, skunk, raccoons, hedgehogs, badgers, ants and large birds such as crows and hawks. Other hazards include falling tree branches, drowning from floods and heavy raining, any falling objects near by, and extreme temperatures.
The level of protection needed depends on your circumstances. At the very-low risk level you can simply have a border of at least 40 cm or higher elevation. At the high-risk level you will need a full-enclosed housing. You can use chicken wire or any other similar mesh-like solution commonly found at your home improvement or hardware store.
In case of an emergency have indoor housing as a back-up. If indoor housing would possibly be needed over an extended period of time a proper setup will be necessary. Most of these circumstances would be due to extreme weather or persistent predator animals. For guidance on indoor housing refer to that section.
Housing your tortoise indoors brings about its own set of risks. When you are deciding on a place for your pets housing be on the lookout for:
- Potential falling objects
- In reach of small children
- In reach of dogs or cats
- Temperature changes because it’s close to a door, window, ceiling fan, heater, air conditioning or air vent
Be sure and position the housing away from all these potential hazards.
And be sure and watch out for sasquatch (bigfoot) too!