Turtle Towers Collaboration

With spring in full swing, our campus is coming to life. Birds are chirping, the insects are back, and baby turtles are starting to be seen walking around campus. As a result, my science class was tasked with creating a bigger enclosure for our turtles. There needed to be a table to hold the tanks, a sunbathing spot for the turtles, and an area for them to roam in. My partner, Cass, and I (Pryce) created a digital design in SketchUp so we would know how to build the model.

I have little experience in taking care of animals beyond my pet dog. In our designs, you’ll see the thought process of someone who knows how to take care of turtles compared to someone who doesn’t. We’ll start with the design that may not be feasible for the turtles.

I have three main points of interest in this design. We have a light bathing spot up top, the biggest area where the tanks will be stored, and the platform for the turtles to roam too. There will be a mesh barrier to contain them, but I used the different placement of the boards for a sense of depth. Having the alternated shelves gives the design a sense of dimension. I met the parameters regarding the initial task. As said before, though, I have only cared for a dog. Cass will talk about their approach to this task.

I (Cass) came at this from a very different perspective. I keep a lot of exotic pets at home and often have to improvise enclosures for them because nobody sells tanks or cages that accommodate their needs.

I considered the needs of our turtles. They need a lot of space to roam, but can’t climb smooth surfaces, and they don’t have any additional humidity requirements, so I knew their “land” area wouldn’t need a lid or high walls. That meant I could essentially put them on a table with a guardrail instead of worrying about a fully closed space for them.

We had multiple tanks that we could use for water, so I made space in my design for a ten-gallon and twenty-gallon aquarium. I chose a corner in the classroom that would be out of the way and measured out the dimensions.

I put the design on the ground in tape so I could get a feel for the scale

Then I put the design into sketchup.

Keep in mind I didn’t design all the supports digitally. I decided to work those out once I had a physical object to work with and had the weight figured out.

I decided to keep everything on one level instead of having a dropdown like in Pryce’s design so we could have it finished as quickly as possible.

Once the structure was built, I constructed six-inch plastic walls, elevated the aquariums on the table, and landscaped the roaming area. I ended up being really happy with the final design, and it works perfectly for our turtles!

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