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Make Your Burrow Snug

Whichever burrow you decide on be sure to make it snug.
Make your burrow the correct channel width for your tortoise. Measure the width of the tortoise shell. A burrow should be snug with very little air circulation to keep the tortoise cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The tortoise should not be able to turn around in the channel.


Channel width should be tortoise width plus 2 inches to allow for growth and walking. Leave more extra space for large tortoises than small ones.

Decrease the width of the channel with growboards than can be removed as the tortoise increases in size. Use a finishing nail to hold the board in place at the turnaround end of the channel. Hammer this into the back board flush with the head of nail as close to roof as possible. This nail will stay in place later when the board is removed so be sure it’s out of the way. Repeat for each board to decrease the width of the burrow.


Be sure your channel is the correct height. Measure your tortoise when walking. Refer to the chart and give an inch of clearance depending on size. Add several inches of rock-free soil to make the channel snug. If you’re building for a small tortoise you’ll require a lot of soil.

Read about soil selection then choose a burrow build to get started

Soil for Covering the Burrow Compact Aboveground Burrow Large Aboveground Burrow Underground Burrow Hatchling and Juvenile Burrow