Sandbox Sanctuary is a private foundation whose main purpose is to rescue and rehabilitate terrestrial turtles and tortoises in need of a permanent home.
We do not re-home or sell animals. We only work with reputable rescue or conservation organizations.
Sandbox Sanctuary is my entire back yard, as well as a room in my house. The entire property will be fenced in and burrow-proof, from escape. A six-foot high wooden fence will hide the enclosures from the general public. Construction is about to start.
A major area will be fenced-in as well, but with commercial 6-foot high chain link fence. Two feet below the surface will be wire fence, so the turtles and tortoises can burrow down, but not out. Three feet high sidewalls both underground and above, will be constructed on all sides. The top will be completely closed-in, as well. Inside the fencing will be screen to keep flies and other insects, at a minimum.
Down the center will be a wooden walkway with individual enclosures, of various sizes. Egg-laying areas will be provided, as well. Substrate will consist of dirt, sand, and mulch. Each area will contain appropriate plants for shade and shelter. A roll-up top will be constructed for full sunlight, and closure during major thunderstorms. If necessary, all turtles and tortoises can be brought indoors, temporarily.
Other open enclosures will be constructed around trees, for temporary daytime housing needs. I will incubate the eggs inside my home. Hatchlings will be housed separately from the adults, both outdoors and indoors, depending on temperature and humidity requirements.
I also plan to construct a butterfly garden in my yard. I am hoping to attract more than just insects. As I stated previously, I want my Sanctuary to be a learning and research center, as well. I already have interested students from two universities who want to do their Master’s Thesis, on some areas of terrestrial turtle and tortoise husbandry, and reproduction.
One Thesis is entitled “Facultative Learning Capability of the Terrestrial Turtle Terrapene ornata and Selected Testudinidae Species Using a Visual Stimulus and a Secondary Reinforcement.” The Ornate Box Turtle is a Threatened Species, in Iowa.
Students wanting to do similar projects are welcome to send me their proposals. I will do my best to help anyone interested in official terrestrial turtle and tortoise projects.
My primary focus will be on box turtles of the United States. I will be working with a few tortoise species, as well.