Home » Can You Keep A Tortoise in A Greenhouse? [Safety Considerations]
can a tortoise live in a greenhouse?

Can You Keep A Tortoise in A Greenhouse? [Safety Considerations]

(Last Updated On: October 30, 2022)

Greenhouses offer protection from the elements, retain heat, and let in sunlight. Tortoises need warmth, humidity, UV rays, and protection from extreme weather.

Keeping a tortoise in a greenhouse seems like a good idea, but you’ll still need to take precautions, as not all greenhouses are suitable places for tortoises to live.

Keeping a tortoise in a temperature-controlled greenhouse is safe when the weather isn’t extreme.

If the greenhouse becomes too hot, it can lead to dehydration or heatstroke. If the greenhouse gets too cold, tortoises can enter an early brumation, leading to illness or premature death.

Tortoises will enjoy exploring the room and the protection they get from snow, ice, rain, and wind. They’ll also enjoy natural sunlight without exposure to dangerous predators and harmful bugs.

Can A Tortoise Live In A Greenhouse?

A modern greenhouse’s humidity level and controlled temperature range will keep tortoises warm and healthy, even during cold outdoor temperatures.

Even smaller greenhouses will have sufficient airflow to keep tortoises from respiratory tract infections. A greenhouse can make an ideal home when it’s humidity and temperature-controlled.

If you want your tortoise to live outside, a greenhouse is an ideal enclosure, even when there’s heavy rain. A greenhouse can provide a warm environment and shield a tortoise from the elements.

Benefits of A Greenhouse To Tortoises

Keeping your tortoise in a greenhouse is ideal for its health and activity levels.

Here are some of the advantages:

Safe Habitat

A quality greenhouse will be constructed from robust materials that can handle strong winds and be insulated from the cold and rain. It’ll keep out predators and limit the number of bugs entering its space.

You can choose any plants kept inside the greenhouse, so there’ll be no risk of poisonous plants and weeds being consumed by your tortoise.

Adult tortoises require less care outdoors, but baby tortoises can get lost or picked up by predators when unsupervised. If you’re concerned about your tortoise while it’s outdoors, a greenhouse offers more safety.

All-Weather Playground

Tortoises love to explore, climb, and burrow. So, keeping a tortoise indoors or in a heated vivarium during the winter may inhibit exercise and play, resulting in a bored and depressed tortoise.

A greenhouse allows a tortoise to explore and play. You can grow tortoise-friendly plants and create hills that the tortoise can explore.

A greenhouse provides a temperate environment to enjoy, regardless of the weather forecast.

Sun Exposure

A greenhouse can allow more sunlight to reach a tortoise than a standard enclosure. If you keep your tortoise inside, windows can limit the UV rays that your tortoise receives.

A greenhouse is designed to give plant life optimal exposure to natural sunlight, and your tortoise can also benefit. Also, they allow you to control how warm the interior gets by using fogging systems.

Your tortoise will still need a shaded area to retreat and a clean water supply.

Affordable Heating Costs

A greenhouse reduces the power needed to keep a tortoise warm during the winter. If you insulate the greenhouse properly, it can reach higher temperatures with the smallest amount of sunlight.

You can also increase the warmth of your greenhouse by adding thermal mass. This includes anything that can absorb heat, such as black plastic water containers.

The water will absorb the heat if you place them in areas that receive direct sunlight during the day. The dark containers will keep the heat inside and release it at night or whenever the temperature drops.

can tortoises live outside all year round?

Can Greenhouses Be Harmful To Tortoises?

You’ll need to safeguard against various problems to ensure that a greenhouse remains a healthy place for a tortoise to live. Here are some of the disadvantages:

Excessive Heat

Greenhouses are designed to conduct heat, which means the internal temperature can reach deadly ranges if tortoises are exposed to scorching sunlight during a hot summer day.

Excessive heat can be fatal if your tortoise doesn’t have a place to hide away and cool down. This can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heatstroke and dehydration.

Depending on the species, too warm for a tortoise is usually above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature can easily exceed that upper level in a greenhouse setting.

To prevent this, you’ll need to monitor the greenhouse’s temperature. You can reduce the temperature by airing it out, using misters, or letting the tortoise stay in a cooler enclosure until the heat reduces naturally.

Overly Cold

Temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit are too cold for tortoises.

They won’t be harmed at this range but may start to brumate. If your tortoise is sent into brumation suddenly, it’ll be ill-prepared for this extended period of inactivity.

Inadequate preparation could leave it too hungry during its long sleep. For this reason, avoid letting your greenhouse reach a low temperature. Your tortoise may become lethargic or brumate too early, making it susceptible to illness and disease.

Tortoises are cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals, so they can’t generate warmth or regulate temperature internally. Thermoregulation in tortoises requires them to move in and out of the sun’s glare throughout the day, which means the tortoise’s blood temperature will fall during cold nights.

Insulating your greenhouse to retain warmth during the day is recommended. You can also use a heat lamp to keep tortoises warm when the greenhouse can’t.

Unsuitable Greenhouse Materials

Some greenhouses, especially those made from polycarbonate plastic, can block UV rays from reaching the greenhouse’s floor. UV rays are vital to a tortoise’s health as they stimulate Vitamin D3 production.

According to Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr., Vitamin D3 is vital to synthesizing calcium. It promotes the development of stronger shells and allows them to metabolize food optimally.

Tortoises have lived and survived in the wild for millennia without any problems. However, pet tortoises may find it hard to survive outdoors in a greenhouse without a thermal gradient. After all, a greenhouse may not be an optimal replica of what a tortoise would encounter in the wild.

To be safe, keep your tortoise in its standard enclosure when the weather is especially hot.