Tortoise Adoption Program

Appendix IV: Burrow Options

Care, Husbandry and Diet of the Desert Tortoise

Using concrete blocks to construct a tortoise burrow:

  1. Blocks laid out on ground After leveling the den site, layout the burrow using 6 concrete blocks (CMU 8"X 8"X16"). Other materials such as slump block or adobe brick can be used as long as you end up with similar dimensions. However, adobe readily crumbles when tortoises dig against them.
  2. 2 rows of blocks laid out on ground For large adults an extra course of 4" thick block can be used to give more headroom.
  3. Plywood placed on top of blocks A piece of ¾" outdoor or treated plywood (40" long X 32" wide) should be laid over the blocks (to their outer edges).
  4. Dirt placed on top of plywood Cover the den with a layer of 6-8" of dirt to provide adequate insulation. Large rocks placed along the outside edge of the blocks can be used to help prevent erosion.
  5. 2 rows of blocks laid out on ground The final product. The den should be protected from runoff water by creating a small burm at the entrance to direct any water away.

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Retrieved from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum web site on 07-22-2024