Tortoise-shelter architecture by a brilliant contractor

You know Dudley, right? Our 90 pound Sulcada tortoise who was the size of a chalupa just five years ago?

Dudley's baby picture with Chico the kitten

Dudley’s baby picture with Chico the kitten

She spent the winter last year on the deck, but she’s just too darn big now and needed a backyard shelter to keep her warm when temperatures drop below 50F. She is, after all, a desert tortoise.

I suppose we cold have just spread thirty or forty sleeping bags over her 4×6′ crate, but that seemed kind of tacky, so we called our long-time friend and contractor, Kurt Wahrmund, to see what he could come up with. After all, he built her first condo. The brilliant result? A cedar-clad shelter that matches the architecture of the house. It has three wall panels that can be stored in the summer, and it features a plexiglass roof and a plenum system that directs the heat from a space heater down into Dud’s straw-lined crate. Check this out!

I am so grateful to Kurt for figuring out a beautiful solution that works aesthetically and practically for human and tortoise both – if you ever need a contractor/designer with a great solution to a building dilemma, call Kurt Wahrmund!

13 thoughts on “Tortoise-shelter architecture by a brilliant contractor

  1. That is one spoiled tortoise!
    Here is my tortoise story. When I was about 13 or 14, one of my brothers acquired a tortoise, which was still legal then in the far-away country where this story takes place. Tortoises do not naturally occur there at all, and we don’t know the country of origin. I think it may have come from Greece. The first few years the tortoise spent winters in the house, in a straw-filled crate. Then one year we “lost” him, in the fully enclosed backyard. Much to our surprise he emerged from a tunnel around March 21, many months later. Ever since then, usually sometime in September, a few times even in late August, he has dug himself in, under the concrete slab of a shed. Every year he emerges around March 21. Yes, he is still around. I am 62 now. I sometimes wonder what will happen to him when my 88 year old mother will no longer live in the house. By the way, this tortoise has not grown much since he joined the family.

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