Monday, October 01, 2007

Building an Enclosure for SAL, Part I

Sal, love of my life, is my Eastern Box Turtle. She was found by my father in the streets of NYC apparently abandoned by some dipshit and possibly attacked by a dog. She was injured, hungry, and sick. Tons of reading, veterinarian visits, and money (aye) later, my little girl is walking fine, eating like a hog, and a beloved member of the family.

SAL used to be kept in a large enclosure inside the house. That didn't work for my little escape artist. After months of fighting her about it, we finally decided to just let the little brat be free and roam the house like she owns it. Hence why in the picture above she is chillin' on the kitchen floor.

However, I think it's time to try the whole enclosure thing again. Now, I don't want to necessarily keep her confined; I think she enjoys the exercise and stimulation she receives from wondering around But I also think she needs some hidey-holes, something to burrow in and a much wider dish of shallow water than she has now. So this is where my craftiness (and insanity) come in. Using highly advanced graphic tools (MS paint) I've sketched out how to turn a large Rubbermaid tote into a nice get away spot for SAL.

So the picture itself is not that great but here's my quick explanation: On the floor of the habitat will be reptile carpet cut and fitted to size. Attached on the left hand side of the container will be a UV light with a sunning rock placed several inches underneath. Right near the middle I want a large shallow pool so SAL can bathe herself; she's not a swimmer whatsoever so it only needs to be deep enough that she can waddle in and out of. Because stagnant water is home to all sorts of insects and bacteria I'm looking into something to keep the water moving. A small fountain, bubbler or something here would work. If not, I guess I'll change the water twice daily (I do that already). Directly opposite of that will be a food plate. This needs to be large enough to accommodate the fresh fruits and veggies as well as the canned food and supplements she receives.

On the other side of the habitat I'll lay down a shallow pan filled with substrate. I think I wrote "mulch" in the picture; don't worry, I'm not going to run to home depot and buy bark that's been spray painted red. This is more of what I had in mind. The pan underneath will be to ease changing the moss often. Over part of the moss will be a cover SAL can hide under when she doesn't wish to address her adoring fans.

I think that's pretty much it. Of course I'll regulate the humidity and temperature and drill a few holes in the container to promote some airflow. Hopefully SAL will give her new a home a thumbs up and not sniff in disappointment.

Once I get all this stuff, I'll make another post showing the process and finished product.

I'm excited. :)

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