Turtle dock

I have a turtle. His name is Burt and he is grumpy and splashy and I love him.

I got him a bigger home a while back┬ábut the dock he’s been using is a bit small for him.

It’s worked, but not well. It’s supposed to float but Burt is a bit too heavy for it to stay up so I have to cable tie it in place, but that means he struggles to climb up onto it sometimes. I’ve been trying to think of something more suitable but couldn’t figure anything out until recently.

Cheap shops all sell breadboards, and they are perfect for this project. Food safe, no nasty chemicals. Nice sturdy plastic but not too brittle for me to cut down with the tools (and skills!) I have. Getting it to stay in place stumped me for a while, until I realised I could cut slots for the clips I already have. Making a ramp also stumped me, until I realised I could just use the dock he already has. It was all a bit of an experiment, but the materials were cheap enough that I was happy to wing it. I picked up a couple of different cutting boards and trays from BM, but went with this one due to it’s thickness and colour.

I didn’t want any sharp edges Burt could catch himself on so went with a kind of arc shape. The flat section is the same width as the floating dock I’m going to use as a ramp.

If I had a conventional tank this would be so much easier! But the clips I use to keep the acrylic guard I made around the tank should work for this too. The edge of the pond is pretty thick, and I’ve tried to keep the size reasonable (while still big enough for Burt). The hardest part of this was keeping the cats out of the turtle tank with the guard down, and keeping Burt in it! He can be very speedy when he wants to be…

Getting holes in all the right places was a little tricky, but the plastic cut very easily. Getting it to cut rather than melt was more of a problem, but so long as there was no sharp edges I wasn’t really fussed if I didn’t do the neatest cuts. Jasmine helped, of course.

I added some holes for cable ties. The two on the flat side go through holes on the floating dock to hold it in place as a ramp. I put the two in the corner as I found I could thread a cable tie through the corner on the pond supports to put round it. I’ve ended up removing this as it was a faff to remove and replace every time I clean out the tank, and not necessary. The weight of the screen over the edges seems to keep everything in place well enough.

I resisted taking photos till Burt got comfortable with his new dock, I didn’t want to spook him. He loves it! I got really worried the first few days he had it as he wouldn’t get off the thing!

He’s one happy turtle now.

So yeah, I’m happy with this project. It took a fair bit of thinking out but was pretty easy to do practically. It’s very functional, it’s been off and back on a couple of times for cleaning so far. It’s much easier for Burt to climb onto, and he can get completely out of the water. It could look a bit better, the colour is a little too vibrant, but I didn’t want to fash around trying to find different bread boards. The biggest problem with it is the noise when Burt decides to dive off the end, he seems to find the best moments to do it, usually when I’m home alone late at night, watching a horror movie… I swear, he does it on purpose.

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