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Can Tortoises Climb? (Plus Tips to Keep Them in Enclosures)

Can Tortoises Climb? (Plus Tips to Keep Them in Enclosures)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tortoises have become popular pets in certain circles. These interesting animals can make fun companions in certain ways.

Of course, it’s going to be imperative to take care of the tortoises properly. You need to put them in some type of enclosure that has everything that they need to thrive.

If you’re trying to use some sort of short enclosure, then you might be concerned about climbing issues. Can tortoises climb or is it okay to use short barriers to keep them in an enclosure?

Read on to learn a bit more about tortoises. You’ll discover whether they can climb while also getting information about how to keep them safe in their enclosures.

Tortoises Can Indeed Climb

This might come as a surprise to you, but tortoises are actually really good at climbing. If you don’t have a proper tortoise enclosure, then your new pet might wind up being able to climb a fence and go exploring other areas of your property.

Of course, tortoises will only be able to climb certain types of surfaces. For example, a tortoise will be able to climb a wire mesh fence because they can use footholds along the way.

If the enclosure utilizes walls that are made of flat and smooth surfaces, then the tortoise won’t be able to climb. It simply wouldn’t be possible for it to climb a wall like that.

This means that you just need to do your best to keep your tortoise in an enclosure that is meant for tortoises. These are generally made using smooth and flat walls that will keep your tortoise safe.

Sometimes tortoises are kept indoors, though. You might have seen tortoise enclosures that are sort of like boxes where the tortoises can live.

These should be fine so long as they’re big enough and you keep the tops closed when you’re not around. Otherwise, a tortoise could probably easily climb out and start exploring your home.

It’s generally considered better for tortoises to be kept outside in an environment that’s as close to natural as it can be. This is why you’ll see the majority of tortoise owners building enclosures in their yards.

Be Careful About Objects That Tortoises Can Climb

You know that it’s best for tortoises to be kept in enclosures that have flat and smooth walls. It’s also important to consider whether your tortoise can use other objects in the enclosure to climb and make a mistake.

Tortoises are smarter and craftier than you might realize. This means that they could use trees, rocks, and other things to climb the walls and make an escape.

If you have logs or rocks too close to the wall of the enclosure, then a tortoise might try to climb on top of those. It will then see if it can transition from the top of the object to the top of the wall.

Tortoise owners have seen tortoises making some pretty daring escapes. It’s actually interesting to see how good tortoises are at climbing when they have the right objects in place to make it possible.

Since your goal is to protect the tortoise, it’s going to be essential to avoid letting this happen. Be careful about where you’re positioning things inside the enclosure.

Be mindful not to position things in such a way that they could be used to climb the walls. So long as you’re paying attention, it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep the tortoise in the enclosure.

Ensure That the Enclosure Is Sturdy

Have you thought about whether the enclosure is going to be sturdy enough? This might seem like an odd question at first, but you might not know how strong large tortoises can be.

There have been large tortoises that are capable of pushing things out of the way due to how strong they are. Some tortoise owners have even cared for tortoises that can push them out of the way if they want to get past them.

This means that using enclosure walls that are a bit too weak will lead to poor results. It’s possible that a larger tortoise might just bust right through the walls.

You need to go out and buy something that will be sturdy and safe for your pet tortoise. Otherwise, you’ll need to build a strong wall that has a flat and smooth surface.

If you don’t take the time to build a good fence, then the tortoise might be able to bash it down over the course of time. Then the tortoise wouldn’t even need to climb it since it could just walk through the rubble or push it aside.

Building a wall that can withstand a powerful tortoise involves using the right materials. There are a few options that should work out nicely.

Many people have had great luck when using wood to build fences for tortoise enclosures. A wooden fence that has been built on a solid foundation should be able to withstand being bashed by a tortoise.

Some people have also chosen to put fences over brick walls or cinder blocks. This can work fine, too, but you have to ensure that the foundation is good.

Smaller Tortoises Can Be Stopped by Tall Fences

Of course, not every tortoise is going to be very large. There are plenty of smaller tortoises out there that will have a hard time climbing tall fences.

These tortoises can still be quite good at climbing, but they might not be able to reasonably climb fences that are too tall. This means that simply having fences that are tall enough will be enough to discourage climbing.

A tortoise might still try to climb the fence, but it’ll realize that its efforts are fruitless before too long. In this situation, it might even be acceptable to use wire mesh fencing since the tortoise wouldn’t be able to climb high enough even with the footholds.

It would still be better to use fences that are flat and smooth, though. This keeps the tortoise from even being able to climb properly.

Build a Roof

Another thing that you can do involves building a roof to keep your tortoise from getting out of its pen. If there is a wire mesh roof on top of the tortoise’s habitat, then it simply wouldn’t be able to climb out.

Many of the little tortoise habitats that people use for indoor enclosures come with roofs such as this. They’re pretty simple, but they do a great job of deterring tortoises from climbing.

You can build a roof for the habitat outside if you’d like to as well. In fact, it might be beneficial to do so for several reasons.

A roof could help to protect the tortoise from outside threats. When you’re keeping a tortoise outdoors, you’re going to want to keep it away from potential predators that might try to turn it into a meal.

Having a roof over the tortoise’s habitat will make it less likely that other animals will bother it. Anyone who is concerned about predators should consider making a roof to provide extra protection.

Are Transparent Fences Good?

Some people wind up debating if they should go with transparent fences or not. You might have seen some tortoise habitats that utilize transparent walls that will allow the tortoise to see what lies beyond the walls.

This is typically discouraged by tortoise enthusiasts. Essentially, it can rile the tortoise up and make it want to try to escape its habitat area.

When the tortoise can clearly see what’s in the outside world, it’s going to make it more curious. In some ways, it might even be considered cruel to taunt the tortoise with the knowledge of what’s out there.

Having walls that won’t allow it to see outside will likely keep it calmer and happier. However, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your pet.

There are tortoises that don’t try to escape at all even when they do have transparent habitat walls. It might depend on the temperament and personality of the tortoise.

Final Thoughts

Knowing more about tortoises will help you to keep them safe in their habitats. If your tortoise enclosure has wire mesh fencing, then there’s a good chance that the tortoise will be able to climb out.

Smaller tortoises might be able to be thwarted by tall fences, though. This means that a tall enough wire mesh fence might be okay if your tortoise isn’t very big.

Larger tortoises will be able to climb right out if you use wire mesh fencing. This means that you want to build walls that are made to be flat and smooth.

Big tortoises can be stronger than many people realize, too. In some circumstances, tortoises have been able to bash walls down by ramming into them multiple times.

This means that you need to make the walls of the habitat very strong so that they can withstand the might of a big tortoise. Otherwise, the tortoise might be able to get out of the pen without even having to climb.

Some people think that making a roof over the enclosure is the best way to protect the tortoise. This would indeed make it impossible for the tortoise to climb out.

It might help to protect your pet from potential predators as well. The roof can keep predators from getting inside the enclosure so that your tortoise can remain safe.

So long as you’re doing your best to make things safe for your pet tortoise, it’s going to be just fine. You should be able to make an enclosure that will suit the needs of the tortoise while also keeping it inside.