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5 DIY Indoor Turtle Habitat Plans You Can Make Today (with Pictures)

turtle diy habitat_Relax_with_nature_Pixabay

Setting up a habitat for a turtle can be an overwhelming task because it feels like a project that requires a lot of planning and forethought. To an extent, this is true. You should always be overly prepared and educated on any pet’s needs before you bring it home. However, that doesn’t mean it has to cost an arm and a leg and require 45 items to set up an appropriate habitat.

Whether you have an aquatic or terrestrial turtle, there’s a DIY habitat plan here for you. Following a plan will help ensure you have all the materials and tools you need before you start on a project. Once you’ve collected everything you need to get a habitat built, any of the following plans can be completed in a day with focus and planning.

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The Top 5 DIY Indoor Turtle Habitat Plans

1. Indoor Aquatic Turtle Habitat by Pippa Elliott, wikiHow

Materials: Surface mount pond, wood, heat lamp, water filter, substrate, plants, décor, nontoxic waterproof sealant
Tools: Miter saw, tape measure, screws, screwdriver, wood glue
Difficulty Level: Difficult

Whether you’ve stumbled upon an aquatic turtle that needs a home or your current aquatic environment went kaput, you may need to get an indoor aquatic setup up and running today. This DIY plan shows you how you can set up an indoor aquatic habitat for your turtle in just 13 steps. Depending on the materials you already have on hand, you may be able to put this habitat together in a day’s time.

This is a simple design that offers your aquatic turtle plenty of space both in and out of the water, allowing them space to bask, eat, and swim. You can select a pond and build a frame that fits the space you have available, although you should still ensure that the environment is an appropriate size for the type and size of turtle you have.


2. Box Turtle Habitat by Melissa Nelson, wikiHow

Materials: Turtle table or wood, nontoxic waterproof sealant, plastic container, mesh screening, substrate, heat lamp, UV lamp, humidity monitor, décor, plants, shallow swimming dish
Tools: Miter saw, tape measure, screws, screwdriver, wood glue
Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult

Box turtles are often happiest in outdoor environments, but that isn’t always a possibility. This DIY indoor box turtle habitat is a great alternative to an outdoor enclosure when that isn’t an option for you. Box turtles have very specific care needs, so make sure you are well aware of these needs before you purchase any supplies. If you can find a turtle table, that will make this project much easier for you, but if you can’t find one, you’ll need to build one yourself.

This DIY plan has great advice on how to properly set up both the heat lamp and UV lamp, so your turtle gets the maximum benefit from both without risking injury. Make sure to follow the instructions on the appropriate setup of all tank items.


3. DIY Epic Indoor Turtle Pond Setup by Steff J

Materials: Garden fencing, plastic tubs, faux grass, nontoxic waterproof sealant, water filter, substrate, plants, décor, heat lamp, PVC pipes, PVC connectors, rope
Tools: Wire cutters, superglue, aquarium silicone
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you’re looking for a relatively simple project that should only take a few hours, then this epic indoor habitat for an aquatic turtle might be what you’re looking for. This might not be the simplest project, but it does require minimal experience with DIY projects to complete. Many of the necessary tools and materials may be things you already have at home.

Depending on the type and size of turtle you have, you may have to make some additions to this project to make it extra secure. This is especially important if you have a turtle that is small or smart enough to figure out how to escape between the bars of the garden fencing. The addition of mesh screening could be a good option for this.


4. Indoor Turtle Pond by A Practical Fishkeeping Blog

Materials: Horse trough, water filter, floating island, substrate, heat lamp
Tools: None
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

In some environments, keeping an aquatic turtle outdoors in the winter isn’t feasible for some people. This indoor turtle pond plan isn’t intended to be a permanent home for your turtle, but it is a good option for short-term housing if you need to keep your turtle safe and warm throughout the winter or help them heal from an illness or injury.

This project requires minimal DIY know-how, making it a good option for someone building an aquatic turtle environment for the first time. The most important aspect of this build is ensuring the floating island is anchored in a way that keeps it securely located in the basking area. If you want to, you can make additions to this project to make it nicer looking or fancier, but on its own, it will serve its purpose as short-term aquatic turtle lodging.


5. Indoor Box Turtle Habitat by Calico Road

Materials: Wood, faux grass, nontoxic waterproof sealant, heat lamp, UV lamp, basking rock, substrate, shallow swimming dish
Tools: Miter saw, tape measure, screws, screwdriver, wood glu
Difficulty Level: Difficult

If you like a project you’ll have to build from the ground up, this indoor box turtle habitat is a great option. This project allows you plenty of options for customization, allowing you to fit your space and aesthetic preferences, as well as your turtle’s enclosure preferences. You can build this to be a permanent or temporary option for your box turtle.

Although this plan doesn’t call for it, it’s generally recommended to put some type of cover, like mesh screening, over a box turtle’s enclosure. These turtles are escape artists, even in enclosures with high sides.

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A Word of Caution

If you’re looking to put together a last-minute turtle enclosure because your kid just walked in the door with a turtle, then you need to acquaint yourself with the laws in your area. In many locations, it’s illegal to box terrestrial and aquatic turtles from the wild. To make things even worse, if you take a wild turtle, keep it for a few days or weeks, then release it, then you can be doing even more harm to the turtle and the ecosystem.

Not only is it often illegal to take a turtle from the wild, but it’s often illegal to re-release the turtle back into the wild as well. If you’ve come across a distressed wild turtle, contacting your local Game and Fish Commission or wildlife rehabber is your best bet for helping the turtle without breaking any laws.


Featured Image Credit: Relax_with_nature, Pixabay

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