How To Make A Turtle Platform

By learning how to make a turtle platform, you can give your turtle a place to nap, eat and bask in the light. Since a turtle can't swim indefinitely and needs to breathe, a turtle platform is an important feeding and resting station.

What You Need From A Turtle Platform
If you've decided to make your own turtle platform, you may want to visit the pet store first to see how commercial turtle platforms are made and ask what types of materials are safe for your turtle. When searching for reptile supplies, always keep in mind the type of turtle, the size of the turtle and the health of the turtle. If your turtle is old and weak, you'll want to make sure there is little effort involved in climbing to his basking perch. If the turtle is large, you'll want to make sure the basking platform is strong enough to hold him and also that it is large enough to accommodate him comfortably.

In all cases, a platform must also be heavy enough or secure enough that the turtle cannot move it or push it around. The platform should either be tight against the wall or allow plenty of room for the turtle to maneuver around it. Turtles are inquisitive creatures. If they can rearrange their pen or tank, they will. If they think they can squeeze behind something, they will. Unfortunately, this is also a good way for a turtle to get caught and drown.

Building A Turtle Basking Platform
To create a platform that is made out of natural substances, you may want to use driftwood or rocks. Driftwood pieces have one downfall: They float, and it can be hard for a turtle to climb up onto a floating platform. If using driftwood, secure several large pieces together so that they form a sort of stepping stone staircase to the basking platform, which should be completely out of the water.

Because your turtle uses his claws to pull himself up, you don't have to make steps or stages that are perfectly symmetrical for your turtle, but, if you do, your turtle won't mind. A turtle is strong and can usually pull himself up and over rocks. However, avoid sharp rocks or sharp materials, such as nails that stick out of the driftwood, because your turtle might gouge holes in his shell. Rocks that are on the flat side with no jagged edges are perfect for use in a platform. Make sure the ascending stages or steps to the platform are large enough that your turtle can maneuver them easily.

If creating a ramp to the basking platform, try using something like an aluminum cookie sheet covered in repti-carpet. Repti-carpet can be purchased at most pet stores. An aluminum cookie sheet will not rust, does not have sharp edges and isn't soft enough that your turtle can chomp on it. It will, however, provide an ascending ramp that can be navigated easily by a turtle.

Placement Of Heating Lamps
The platform should be directly beneath the heating lamp-but not too close, or the turtle could get burned. Buy a ceramic-topped heating lamp. Because of the constant heat a turtle requires, a plastic-topped heating lamp may melt. Get a heating bulb with no more than 100 watts. The heating lamp should be placed in the opposite side of where you have the water heater so that the entire tank stays warm enough to keep your turtle comfortable. If you use red, blue or black bulbs in the heating lamps, you can leave the heating lamp on at all times. These colors are the least stressful to turtles.

The basking area should be about 85 degrees. Make sure you have a thermometer in the tank to check the temperature. The temperature inside the tank will be affected by the temperature outside of the tank, so check the thermometer frequently.

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