1 sheet of 4ft x 8ft x 3/16in plexiglass
3 or 4 2in x 4in x 8ft boards
1/2 gallon of polyurethane sealer
1 can of stain (optional)
1 tube of aquarium sealant
open-topped cat litter trays
1 shallow tray (water dish)
nails and flat-topped wood screws
Plywood: The plywood used should be 3/4 inch thick. 1/2 inch thick sheets can be used, but this necessitates a sturdier frame, and the inserted trays cannot be as heavy. Sheets with a "finished" side will look nicer, not having as many irregularities, and will not need as much sanding prior to staining and sealing. They are more expensive, however, and the irregularities in an unfinished sheet will provide more traction for the wandering turtles.
Plexiglass: Plexiglass sheets can be purchased from a plastics dealer/manufacturer. Check your local Yellow Pages. The thickness of the sheet is dependent on two related factors: how high the sides are going to be, and how big the turtles are that are going to be kept. The bigger the turtle, the sturdier the material and the higher the sides need to be to prevent breakouts by push-over or climb-over methods. For 6 inch long turtles, a 12 inch high side made of 3/16 inch plexiglass has been more than sufficient. A cutter for the plexiglass will be necessary. They look like utility knives with a hook at the tip of the blade, and can be usually be purchased from the same plastics dealer that sold you the plexiglass.
Trays: The cat litter trays are for plants, and as such should be large and deep enough to hold the plants you wish to use. All trays must have a lip or rim running around the outside edge of the tray. This should be fairly sturdy, as it will support the weight of the tray and its contents when it is put into the cutout in the plywood surface. A shallow tray, 1 to 2 inches deep, serves nicely as a water tray. A good source of this size tray is the kind used for developing photographic prints. Just make sure to get one with a good lip around it.
Plants: I have found that the best types of plants to use are those with a thick central stem from which broad heavy leaves emerge, under which a turtle can hide. "Corn plants" are a good example of this type. A large spider plant works also, if the leaves are gathered together and held a little up off the ground.
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