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Summer and Winter Housing

Red-footed tortoises live throughout South America from Panama to Argentina on the islands of Trinidad and Barbados where they occupy dry and wet forests areas, grasslands and the savanna. Where Basil lives (Toronto, Canada), winters are cold and summers, although hot, are relatively short - very different from homelands of Redfoot Tortoise that are tropical or subtropical. The weather definitely adds complexity to living with a Redfoot Tortoise.

Redfoot tortoises enjoy natural sunshine and being out-of-doors. During summer for the first fifteen months of Basil's life, she split her time between a backyard tortoise garden and an indoor terrarium. The outdoor garden gave her access to tortoise-safe edible plants and natural sunlight that her body used to synthesize vitamin D3. The shortcoming of the turtle garden is that it was open at the top which left Basil vulnerable to attack by racoons or dogs and so she could not be left outdoors unsupervised.

As the years went by, Basil outgrew her terrarium and moved into a 6 ft x 3 ft tortoise tub. Eventually the tortoise tub became too small for her and we gave Basil her own room. To provide Basil with secure outdoor accomodation, we had an outdoor cat enclosure built that Basil has shared with two generations of cats: Pumkin and Salem (2003 to 2019) and Eddie and Rudy (2019 to the present day).