The tortoises have gone to live outside for the season and now that they are getting bigger they are outgrowing their water dish which just happens to be a quiche dish. I've been wanting to pour them a concrete pool for awhile now and decided this summer was the perfect time. It's hitting 100 degrees now for the past week and it's important to keep these reptiles hydrated.
I did a little research online and sort of adapted several methods I found into one for our pool. I bought five 80 pound bags of concrete, not knowing how much I'd use. I also picked up a roll of chicken wire to provide some structure.
I set to work creating a nest shape out of the chicken wire. Putting several layers in each direction until it looked like a big bird bath.
We took turns mixing up each bag until it was a good sculpting consistency, not too runny. We used a metal bowl to smooth it out and make the edges a few inches taller than the middle. I didn't want them to have any problems getting in or out of their pool.
Three bags seemed to be enough and when done we loosely covered it with a tarp and weighed it down so it wouldn't blow away or get rained on. Twice a day I removed the tarp and sprayed it down with water per instructions on the bag of concrete.
On the fifth day I took the tarp off and sprayed it down with the hose to remove any film and filled it up. I did research sealers but wasn't able to find any good aquatic sealer for concrete. I also read on a bird bath forum that they don't need to be sealed if they are thicker than two inches, which I believe this is. It's been in use for a week and it doesn't leak or absorb into the concrete. I also rinse and refill it daily. The tortoises seem a little weary of it for now so I'm picking them up and plunking them down in the middle each day to show them where the water is. They take a drink and scoot out of it.
Yesterday was particularly hot and I plopped Billy Bob the sulcata (in the above picture) into the cool water and she sat there using her front limbs to spray water up on her back. It was cute and made me feel like they may actually use it. So that's one of the projects we did over the 4th of July weekend.