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Project by Jenine posted 11-02-2013 03:04 PM 2193 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Not really a woodworking project, this 16’ x 4’ carpentry project was built in 3 LONG days of summer heat. The frame is made of redwood, the doors and top are made of cedar. The “windows” are heavy gauge hardware cloth wire stapled into the window frame. I used a kreg jig build the entire project (using deck screws in the frame for added support). I finished it with a non-toxic oil wood finish I had never seen before – it was sold at World Market and designed to finish their line of unfinished outdoor wood furniture. Thus far, I am not impressed with the longevity of the product.

The frame sits on top of a level “foundation” of concrete blocks (seen in the installed photo). This was necessary because both redwood and cedar can harm the turtles if they get a splinter. So, we had to make sure they could not climb high enough to make contact with the frame. This is the first time the turtles have had the opportunity to stay outdoors all summer and they were super happy about it. This is also the first time they have lived in a habitat as large as this – which is recommended by reptile veterinarians.

My husband has had Boxy the box turtle since he was in 1st grade (he is 38 now). Franklin is a crabby turtle, he was a rescue turtle we adopted from a reptile humane society in Colorado, and he made the trip all the way to Montana in a shoe box. We had hoped that they would breed one day, and while they did their “thing”, no turtle eggs ever came to be. Oh well, we sure enjoy having them anyway!

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

9 comments so far

View facecarver's profile


154 posts in 1821 days

#1 posted 11-02-2013 03:45 PM

Way Cool !!!Well Done….I have rescued many Gopher turtles in Florida during the brush fires.They live in holes in the ground. Picked up a bunch of them off the road,and relocated them to a safer area….

-- Dennis Stallings; I am what I am,And that's all what I am...

View Jenine's profile


146 posts in 1868 days

#2 posted 11-02-2013 03:53 PM

So nice of you!!! Most people would have just left them to the fires… :( Turtles are fascinating, intelligent creatures with very distinct personalities :)
Thanks for the compliment :)

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2836 days

#3 posted 11-03-2013 12:20 AM

What an extravagant turtle hotel. By the way they are probably tortises as turtles are aquatic creatures. Would love to see a pic of your husband’s childhood pet.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View luv2learn's profile


2848 posts in 2448 days

#4 posted 11-03-2013 12:34 AM

Now that is a labor of love for either the turtles or your husband LOL!! But I’m guessing both!! Nice project.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1970 days

#5 posted 11-03-2013 01:37 AM

Very nice Jenine, I have never seen a turtle home before….I agree with gfadvm, it is kind of a hotel for two turtles…lol Any way it is a great build and I am sure the turtles are very happy and so is your husband. Would liked to have seen a pic of the couple in their new home…:)

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Jenine's profile


146 posts in 1868 days

#6 posted 11-03-2013 03:08 AM

gfadvm – I am assuming the dvm in your profile name means you are a veterinarian! How awesome! Box turtles are actually a turtle, not a tortoise :) although the topic had been debated for many years, the general consensus now is that they are, indeed, turtles. Terrapene carolina carolina (eastern box turtles) belong to the family Emydidae and are terrestrial members of the marsh (or, pond) turtle family.

luv2learn – it was a labor of love for my husband, although I am rather fond of them, too :)

I know the habitat might seem large to most people, but the minimum recommended size for a box turtle habitat is 25 square feet. Each turtle in this enclosure has 32 square feet, so we are just over the minimum. There are dividing blocks inside the habitat keeping Franklin away from Boxy. Franklin is a bit – um, feisty – and he has injured Boxy during his repeated attempts to mate with her.

Boxy is pictured below checking out the new photos in her terrarium (indoors), I know that decorating seems weird, but they freaking LOVE the pictures. Whenever I hang new ones they always go to them to check them out. Franklin is eating baby food salmon on the green dessert plate. Sad they had to come in for the winter… Wow, this whole post makes me sound like a turtle freak (I swear I am not turtle obsessed, my only obsession is woodworking and tool acquisition). :)

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2836 days

#7 posted 11-03-2013 04:46 PM

Jenine, I’ll take your word for it as I am a horse veterinarian (but my daughter is a small animal and exotic veterinarian).

They look very pleased with their new home!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Rick S.'s profile

Rick S.

10571 posts in 3178 days

#8 posted 11-12-2013 07:57 AM

YEP! They’re ALL Happy Little Creatures Now!!! Nice Work Jenine!

-- (Rick S.)... "Don't Worry About What People Think! They Don't Do It Very Often Anyway!"

View CFrye's profile


10419 posts in 1985 days

#9 posted 12-08-2013 03:50 AM

Great habitat Jenine! I need to show this to a turtle nut coworker of mine, she’ll love it! Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

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