I mentioned it last week, but it was time to update Turtle's house. Building Turtle's first house was the first update we made to our house when we moved in. It stood up really well for two years. That was until a pack rat moved in and made a mess of things. Here, look at this lovely comparison:
The pack rat found a nice little place and tried to make it his own. With winter coming in a couple of months, I became paranoid about repairing it before Turtle needed to hibernate. (Sidenote: this post could have also been titled "How to Build a Sonoran Desert Tortoise Habitat". We're getting pretty good at it given this is our third Turtle house in three years.)
Off we went to Home Depot and picked up $20 of 2 x 8s. We measured and cut five pieces to 28 inches and screwed them into place. I also insisted on adding a thin strip to one edge to keep dirt from eroding over Turtle's doorway.
As an added bit of weather and termite proofing, we caulked between all the boards and painted with exterior paint.
We did reuse as much as we could from the previous house. We didn't move or remove any of the cinder blocks. Once Turtle crawled out for some lunch, demo on the old house began. And guess who we found in it? A little squatter!
Don't worry, the little rat ran off and hid under a cactus. If he comes back and gives us more problems, we'll trap him in our humane trap and release him in the desert.
We filled in the cinder blocks with dirt and rocks, place the newly
build roof, and piled the earth back up. Doesn't it look so much better
We stayed around and watched until found his way home. (Sidenote: after we were done building, I crouched down and stretched my arms out to Turtle and he came running. And by running, walking as fast as his little legs moved.)
With this house, I've got to be better at routine maintenance. I'd really like to build up some plants around it to help fight erosion.
He's the best little pet and I love him so so much!