14 Best Tortoise Enclosures (2020) | Indoor & Outdoor Guide

by Carl Crane | Last Updated: August 21, 2020
Best Tortoise Enclosures

When it comes to a tortoise enclosure it’s really circumstantial, because it depends on the species of tortoise you own, if it’s an adult or a baby tortoise and what gender it is.

Obviously many species have different tortoise habitat setups so that means various size enclosures.

Knowing the type of species and gender of your tortoise will tell you whether or not it’s going to get really big or stay small.

Deciding where you want the tortoise enclosure to be, indoor or outdoor is also an important factor when choosing the best tortoise enclosure.

Some species of tortoises like a Sulcata tend to do better outside because they do grow quite a lot, and other species like Russian tortoise does reasonably well inside.

Also please consider that owning a pet tortoise, know that they are a lifetime commitment and beyond and in general, most tortoise species can live somewhere between 80-150 years depending on the species.

Don’t have time to read all the reviews? No concerns, to save yourself the lengthy read, here is our preferred best tortoise enclosure.

We Recommend

There is no doubt that space for a tortoise is the most important factor to consider when choosing their enclosure and the Unipaws Chinese Fir Wood Tortoise House fits perfectly with its needs.


This article will cover the general idea about what type of tortoise enclosure fits best with your reptile needs, how to look after a tortoise and what factors to consider when choosing the best tortoise enclosure.

Things To Consider When Buying a Tortoise Enclosure

When measuring a tortoise turtle enclosure, it goes by how tall the sides are, and the thing is, is that they don’t need to be that tall, just enough so that they won’t be able to escape their enclosure.

Instead, you should be looking for a tortoise tank with plenty of floor space, since they like to wander over very large areas, it is hard-wired into them to roam a lot.

If you are just getting started with a tortoise baby, you can’t really keep him outdoors in an open enclosure due to predation, so you would want to either keep him indoors until he reaches a juvenile state or have a custom made tortoise enclosure where natural predators cannot reach him.

We have personally witnessed the loss of many tortoises due to mixing species in the same tortoise enclosures and we advise against it as we feel that this is a mistake.

Many people ask themselves do you I need a terrarium? Should I get a vivarium? And our opinion is that you need to consider solid structure, you need to figure out a way so that they can’t see through the glass.

Tortoises generally don’t grasp the concept of a clear barrier since none exists for them in nature, so when they see something they will spend their time pacing the glass, trying to go through it.

Our suggestion is that if you fancy buying a tortoise terrarium, you will need to create a visual barrier on the sides.

You can either leave the front panel visible so you can at least see the turtle or if the tank sits on something that’s not too tall, you can have the top panel opened and cover all sides.

If you are interested in buying wood made tortoise enclosure you should also be aware of the type of wood that it’s made from and if it’s toxic or not.

Essentially you should avoid using any type of cedar or pine wood as they are toxic for your turtle pet.

Cedar, which is the most commonly used in these types of products, gives off fumes that repel bugs and these same fumes are toxic in a closed space 24/7, whether it would hurt your tortoise in an open-air outdoor pen is questionable, but we wouldn’t take the risk.

Our selection of recommended land turtle tanks is carefully selected to keep your tortoise happy and not make him feel that he is contained.

The 7 Top-Rated Best Tortoise Enclosure

Editor’s Picks

Brand

Rating

Top Pick

unipaws Chinese Fir Wood Tortoise House

4.3

Runner Up

Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures with PVC Panels

4.4

Best Terrarium for Tortoise

REPTI ZOO Reptile Large Terrarium

4.5

Best Cheap Tortoise Enclosure

Aivituvin Wooden Tortoise House

4.6

Best Indoor and Outdoor Enclosure

ROCKEVER Tortoise House Enclosure Indoor/Outdoor

4.2

Best Indoor Enclosure

Zoo Med Tortoise House

4.4

Best Glass Enclosure for Tortoise

Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium

4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Tortoise Enclosure

best tortoise enclosure

1. Unipaws Chinese Fir Wood Tortoise House

Size: 34″ x 22″ x 12″ | Volume: 10 gallons | Weight: 20 pounds | Material: Fir Wood

The unipaws Chinese Fir Wood Tortoise House will be more suited for someone who is looking to buy the best possible enclosure for the most affordable price, which has everything that it needs to house a tortoise.

The enclosure is built for a tortoise which includes a hiding area and an outside zone for basking purposes. The wood-sided design adds privacy and makes your tortoise feels safe and secure.

It comes with a one-piece floor to blocks the soil substrate from leaking out the bottom.

You could trust it with indoor use to protect tortoise from colder temperatures or to escape bad weather! Perfect winter house when the weather gets too cold and your shelled pet can’t be outside anymore.

We liked how easy is to assemble the house, it can take about 30 minutes for one person.

Pros

Cons


2. Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures with PVC Panels

Size: 48″ x 24″ x 16″ | Volume: 80 gallons | Weight: 42 pounds Material: PVC

This Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosure with PVC Panels is great for tortoises and reptiles in general that require a lot of room for them to explore.

The enclosure uses 1 inch of anodized aluminum, bamboo printed PVC panels, front sliding/removable acrylic doors, a galvanized steel screen top, additional top humidity shield to retain humidity, and a 6-inch substrate shield (to keep the loose substrate in the habitat when the door is open).

The steel screen top incorporates screen support bars and wire grommets to give you the flexibility to place your lighting fixtures inside or outside the enclosure. It’s durable and the composite PVC has minimal bowing due to age, weight, or heat (also described as superior to the standard PVC).

When fully assembled it’s only 42 lbs which makes it lightweight. It’s so easy to assemble that no extra tools are required, just a rubber mallet may be enough.

Pros

Cons


3. REPTI ZOO Reptile Large Terrarium

Size: 48″ x 18″ x 18″ | Volume: 67 gallons | Weight: 70 pounds Material: Glass

The REPTIZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium is made out of high quality thick and extremely high hardness tempered glass base as they can offer you the best viewing over your tortoise. 

This enclosure is suitable for damp and humid conditions and it’s also really hygienic as they are easy to clean. 

The glass on this terrarium can also maintain the correct heat gradient more precisely. 

The bottom glass panel of the enclosure is raised to facilitate the mounting of a substrate heater or heat cable. Also, the bottom has a water-tight base up until the hinged doors which can allow for a “water pool” area inside the terrarium.

Ventilation is important within an enclosure and the top mesh screen can be removed which will provide plenty of ventilation for optimum airflow. 

Also when adding any type of UV lighting it allows for full light penetration if mounted on top for the terrarium as no UVB rays are lost when faced towards the basking area.

Pros

Cons


4. Aivituvin Wooden Tortoise House

Size: 39.4″ x 24″ x 12.4″ | Volume: 50 gallons | Weight: 24 pounds Material: Wood

The Aivituvin Wooden Tortoise House is perfect any type of tortoise as you have the option to combine two of these tortoise houses to make it even bigger for when the tortoise reaches a large size.

It’s made out of solid wood and has a unique acrylic design which makes it easier for both you and the tortoise to view each other.

It comes with a “private” sleeping area and a “public” views area where the tortoise can bask and do other activities.

The hinges work really well for your tortoise if you plan to get your tortoise outside to get natural sunlight.

It also has sealed plastic bottom which makes it leakproof and does not let any liquid pour out of the floor. Having a plastic bottom makes it automatically easier to clean and keep the tortoise house as hygienic as possible.

Pros

Cons


5. ROCKEVER Tortoise House Enclosure Indoor/Outdoor

Size: 36″ x 24″ x 14″ | Volume: 55 gallons | Weight: 30 pounds Material: Wood

The ROCKEVER Tortoise House is a cute enclosure which makes it perfect for your tortoise as it has enough space for him to move around and explore.

Excellent indoor/outdoor habitat for your tortoise. Easy to put together and it will exceed your expectations. 

It’s made out of solid wood and the metal grate is strong to prevent any predation in case you will use this outdoor.

Making it easy to assemble this enclosure is worth the penny. You get for what you pay and we recommend this product over the competition.

Pros

Cons


6. Zoo Med Tortoise House

Size: 37″ x 25″ x 13″ | Volume: 45 gallons | Weight: 26 pounds Material: Wood

The Zoo Med Tortoise House is specifically designed for a tortoise having a place to call his home and adds privacy plus is preferred by professional tortoise keepers.

Even though this is only suitable for a smaller species of tortoises, you have the option to buy two of these tortoise houses and combine them by removing the detachable wall that slides up.

It can also be used outdoors when it’s not too cold outside to provide natural sunlight and beneficial UVB. Features separate weatherproof sleeping area and lockable wire safety cover.

Pros

Cons


7. Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium

Size: 48″ x 18″ x 18″ | Volume: 66 gallons | Weight: 65 pounds Material: Glass

The Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium is really easy to install and it can come in 18 different models. We’ve picked this model since having the most floor space for tortoise it’s the most important factor.

This terrarium is a great fit for any adult tortoise. The only issue you could run into is that the terrarium could look half empty if you don’t add more decorations. 

The shipping is good and the extra padding in the packaging helps the glass survive. 

It’s absolutely obvious how much effort went into not only making the product great but the packaging as well, which is very well wrapped and secured.

Even though the product specifies the total size of this terrarium it looks way bigger than it is displayed in the images.

Pros

Cons


Housing Tortoises Outdoors

The catchphrase says it all “The bigger, the better”, and that applies really well for any type of tortoise.

Some of the indoor enclosures on the market are not the best option because most of them are just too small and that’s not good for a tortoise.

So many times people want to know the minimum size for their adult tortoise habitat and they should be asking themselves instead what is the maximum size.

By the time people finish putting all the “furniture” in a typical indoor tortoise enclosure, there is hardly any room left for them.

Tortoises need lots of room to roam and explore and if you happen to live in a warm area with a calm climate you should have him placed into an outdoor tortoise enclosure.

After looking at various tortoise enclosures, we noticed that there aren’t that many enclosures that are specifically made a tortoise, and if there are any, they don’t provide enough space and flexibility.

Usually, tortoises like to burrow, so you can add a wire mesh below the ground level of the barrier to keep your tortoise protected.

People will start resorting to DIY tortoise enclosure guides but not everybody has the right tools and time to build such enclosures.

Our picks are not specifically made for tortoises but they are a great option to start and built upon them.

Best Outdoor Tortoise Enclosure

tortoise basking

1. Tuffstuff Heavy Duty Rectangular Aquaponics Tank

The Tuffstuff Heavy Duty Rectangular Aquaponics Tank is what you need if you are looking for a plastic tortoise house.

Even though this is a heavy duty tub tank, it can house a tortoise and give him enough space for him to feel happy. Can be easily moved in case you change your mind and has an industrial endurance.

Pliable and not too rigid but firm enough to hold its shape. Works excellent for turtles in general with plenty of space even with their basking area.

Tuffstuff Heavy Duty Rectangular Aquaponics Tank:


2. Giantex Raised Wood Garden

Spacious and versatile the Giantex Raised Garden Bed Kit Natural Fir Wood Enclosure will be the perfect enclosure for your tortoise pet. This product is made 100% out of fir wood which makes it durable, sturdy and safe for your tortoise.

This also comes with a lower shelf storage space suitable for storing anything that your pet would need.

Easy to assemble as all the necessary accessories are packed well in the product parcel.

Giantex Raised Garden Bed Kit Natural Fir Wood Enclosure Features:


3. Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden

The Yaheetech Wooden Bed Planter Enclosure makes the perfect tortoise enclosure as it offers enough space for the turtle to take some exercise. The material used is non-painted and non-toxic 100% fir wood which makes it safe for the tortoise in case he is interested in inspecting the habitat.

The fir wood is known for its strength and dimensional stability as well as its natural resistance to rot and pests. The thick solid wood boards are sanded well to prevent any undesired injury to the tortoise caused by wood splinters.

Not only that this is safe for the tortoise but it’s easy to assemble, the only tool that you will need here is a screwdriver.

Yaheetech Wooden Bed Planter Enclosure Features:


4. Thirteen Chefs Villa Acacia Raised Garden

Made from solid acacia wood, a tropical and beautiful hardwood that resists rot, fungus and water damage makes Thirteen Chefs Villa Acacia Raised Garden Enclosure a safe choice for your tortoise habitat.

Constructed using solid wood it makes this table enclosure sturdy to prevent it from tipping or falling when loaded with tortoise accessories.

The acacia wood is lighter in weight than other solid hardwood furniture products so it will make it a bit easier to move the enclosure around if necessary. The only disadvantage is that acacia wood is more expensive as it’s harder to find because they can only grow in natural habitats like Africa and Australia.

Thirteen Chefs Villa Acacia Raised Garden Enclosure Features:


5. Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden

Made out of good natural fir wood which makes it safe for the tortoise the Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden Bed Enclosure will offer plenty of space for your turtle to call it his home.

This wooden garden bed is simple to assemble and very easy and quick to set up. The middle plank that comes with this kit can be used for something else as it will not be necessary to add it for the turtle since he needs as much space as possible.

Yaheetech Wooden Raised Garden Bed Enclosure Features:


6. Best Choice Products Raised Garden

The Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed Enclosure it’s the perfect choice for someone who is looking for something cheap and made out of quality materials. This tortoise enclosure offers 8ft x 2ft space for your tortoise, space that he can fully grow without the need to worry for more space.

This is built to last through the season and comes with a divider so you can separate it into 2 enclosures in case you have 2 different species of tortoises. Obviously, this divider can be ignored if you only own 1 tortoise.

Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed Enclosure Features:


7. Tangkula Chicken Coop Small Critter Cage

The Tangkula Chicken Coop, Wooden Garden Backyard Small Animals Cage would be the best choice for a tortoise baby because the enclosure is well sealed to keep the predators out. It’s made out of durable good quality fir wood and its dimensions are 47.5″L x 47.5″W x 24″H which it’s more than enough even for a juvenile tortoise.

Tangkula Chicken Coop Small Animals Cage Features:


A Guide to Tortoise Enclosure

Some people say that tortoises are easy to keep indoors, while others feel very strongly that tortoises are just plain not suitable indoor pets because of their housing needs.

We believe that tortoises should spend as much time as possible outside, and when indoors, every effort should be made to provide the sort of housing they need, making this not a cheap option.

Setting Up The Tortoise Enclosure

The most essential thing for a tortoise is that he has enough space to move, cause they are very mobile, they like to move around quite a bit.

So adding too many decorations in the tank that will prevent his movements is not advised. The tortoise only needs a couple of necessary things that will make him more than happy.

First of all, they need your standard tortoise substrate since tortoises like to burrow a lot.

There are a lot of options in what type of bedding you can use, but just be sure to not use sand, it’s a huge no-no. No matter your best efforts to prevent it from happening, your tortoise will ingest the sand while eating.

You will also need your heating elements and your UV lights. An ideal temperature for the tortoise when he is basking is somewhere between 89.6˚F – 100.4˚F.

You will also need a hiding area for the tortoise as they need to get away from the heat and cool off a bit. Ideally, the hiding area should be somewhere between 59˚F – 71.6˚F.

As we said earlier these temperatures really depend on you tortoise species so they can vary a little.

Let’s not forget about the feeding dishes since we don’t want to feed the tortoise by throwing them food in the bedding.

A nice deep dish should be perfect here and then giving them water and food will be an easy task.

When it comes to decorations you really need to take care, because usually when tortoises see something green, they will think it’s turtle food and will try to eat it and start chewing on them.

Having a hydrometer and a thermometer will also be helpful for you to determinate where your temperature stands in the tank as well as the humidity.

Tortoise Enclosure Size and Height

The height of the habitat should be enough that the lights or heaters cannot hurt the tortoises, and they cannot climb on anything in the habitat to escape.

Housing should be measured depending on the size of the tortoise, and the bigger the better in most situations. Here are a few basic sizes for tortoise enclosures:

There is no absolute size requirement for tortoise housing, but some countries have guidelines or policies regulating the size.

Another guideline is to give about 100 square inches (or cm) of space for every inch (or cm) of the shell. 

The numbers listed above are guidelines and not absolutes. It really depends on the type of tortoise you own and if they feel comfortable enough with the space given.

Many will say that smaller indoor enclosures are enough as long as they have access to larger outdoor spaces much of the time.

Tortoise Enclosure Heating

There are many different types of heating when it comes to heating your tortoise enclosure and these include the heating mat, ceramic heater, and light bulbs.

None of them are necessarily better than the others because it really depends on the tortoise and how you think it will work the best to heat your tortoise enclosure.

1. Heating Mats

The heating mats are also referred to as heat pads or under tank heater, but mostly they are the same thing. Some can be sticky, other just slides under your tortoise enclosure.

Whichever one you pick they’re going to be made for certain enclosure sizes so you can find the one that fits your enclosure accurately.

The heating mats are probably the most common way to heat different enclosures and for good reasons, because they work with a lot of different animals.

The biggest plus when using the heating mats is that it gives your animal belly heat and for some animals, this is really important.

They can just sit in the area where the heating mat is placed and then they can just absorb that heat cause it will be heating up the substrate right above it.

Some animals are really going to benefit from this including a lot of different snakes, burrowing lizards, leopard geckos.

Another great thing about the heating mats is that they do not emit any light so you can use it during the day or at night.

They are mostly used when using turtle tubs or rack systems because it’s a bit difficult to have lighting, especially on tubs and rack systems.

Even though they are really nice to have for certain things, they do have some cons and one of which being that they don’t really work for wood enclosures and in case you have a wood enclosure for your tortoise, you are going to have to look for different ways to heat your enclosure.

2. Ceramic Heater

The ceramic emitters or ceramic heater whatever you want to call it is made out of ceramic and it just goes into a usual light socket so you can use them with the heat lamps.

These ceramic heaters can get really hot depending on the wattage you get, so having a thermostat to keep the temperatures in check is advised.

The ceramic heater can be easily used in the basking spot together with the UVB light bulb.

These can also be great at night because they don’t let off light and a lot of different reptiles are going to need specific nighttime temperatures.

Just be careful when using the ceramic heater since they can affect the humidity because of how much heat they can emit.

3. Heat Bulbs

The heat bulbs aren’t too different from the ceramic bulbs, the main difference being that they can let off actual light so it can be good if your enclosure doesn’t have any light in it.

These have basically built-in UVB and heating so you can do it all in one bulb

Tortoise Enclosure Humidity

While it may be difficult to produce the high humidity we aim for if the air in your tortoise enclosure is dry, the overall concept is simple.

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air meaning that if there is a lot of water vapor in the air, the humidity will be high. So the higher the humidity, the wetter it feels outside.

Most of the pet tortoises tend to originate from areas of high humidity and usually do best in captivity at the right levels of humidity, at least in some places.

Some species of tortoises, such as the Yellow-foot, prefer very high humidity at around 95% or more.

Others do quite well at 80% or more, but can often endure lower levels as long as there is a place for them to hide in a more humid area.

Animals need to take in water by drinking, getting it in from their food, breathing it in, absorbing in it, or whatever.

Forest tortoises think that they can get plenty of moisture by just breathing, eating juicy foods, and finding water easily, so they do not control their water stores as efficiently as grass or dry soil species do.

Low humidity can also lead to dehydration.

Aiming for approximately 70% to 100% should be the standard, often settling at around 70% overall with some higher ratios in specific parts of the tortoise habitat.

Some species want more humidity, and baby forest tortoises appear to favor the higher levels of humidity.

A good layer of condensation on the glass of a warm habitat is a great sign that the humidity is roughly right. 

This can be measured more precisely with a humidity gauge or hygrometer. 

Ways to increase the humidity in the tortoise enclosure:

Commonly Asked Questions About Tortoise Enclosures

Q: Do Land Turtles Need Water In Their Enclosure?

Of course, they will need a clean source of water for them to drink. It’s also not advised to have a water source that it’s too deep for them since they cannot swim.

The most natural thing to do for them is to spray them with some water as this will imitate the rain in nature.

Q: How Big Should A Tortoise Enclosure Be?

The tortoise enclosure should be about 1 square foot of every square inch of tortoise is what we generally recommend.

Q: Do I Need A Heat Lamp For A Tortoise?

Yes, every tortoise needs a heat lamp. They are cold-blooded animals and that means they get heat into their body using natural sunlight.

Q: Do Tortoises Need A Heat Lamp At Night?

If you keep the substrate damp, then yes they will need a night heat source so your tortoise can move to that spot if he feels like it

Q: Can A Tortoise Live Outside?

Yes definitely, the best place for your pet tortoise is actually outside. Just be careful if you want to keep your tortoise outside, you will need to seal their enclosure, as natural predators will try and snatch your tortoise.

Our Final Conclusion

When it comes to tortoise enclosures you can get really creative here as there is no real blueprint on how to create or improve them.

And here you have it, the best tortoise enclosures available in the market. You can keep your pets happy and stress-free with these products and save help them exercise by providing the largest enclosure possible.

If you are still having difficulty making a choice from the products listed, then we will narrow down your search to Zen Habitats Reptile Enclosures. It is durable, really large and perfect for an indoor habitat.

Another good option for an outdoor enclosure is Tuffstuff Aquaponics Tank. It is made to be resistant to wear and tear and be long-lasting. It’s extremely big and is made of non-toxic materials. 

Whatever your choice is, you will get the best because all products here are listed with the comfort and health of your pet in mind.