DIY Turtle Basking Platforms

Updated April 17, 2017

Turtles require a basking platform so they can bask in the sun or heat lamp as they are cold-blooded creatures. A well-cared for turtle can grow large and a properly sized commercial basking platform may be hard to find. Building your own custom basking platform or area enables you to create one that fits the size of your turtle and the decor you have in the turtle's home. While there are many methods available at your disposal, safety is a critical factor when choosing how you want to build. Your platform has to safely support your turtle without toppling.

Purchase a piece of driftwood that is large enough for your turtle and provides enough space for it to lie on while basking. Look for pieces of driftwood at your local aquarium store or your local pet store.

Boil your purchased driftwood for one hour in a pot large enough for it to fit in. Soak the driftwood for one week in a bucket large enough for it to fit in, changing the water daily. Driftwood leeches tannins when first put into the water. These tannins discolour the water red. By boiling and soaking, a good amount of tannins will be leached out into the water and when you do use your driftwood, it will not discolour your turtle's home.

Drill two 1/4-inch holes on two ends of the driftwood where you want to attach the suction cups. The suction cups will keep the driftwood afloat at the water's surface for your turtle to use whenever it wants to bask.

Zip tie the suction cups by threading the tip of the zip tie through the hole in the base of the suction cup and through one of the holes in the driftwood. Do this for each suction cup at each drilled hole in the driftwood. Pull zip ties tight. Cut the part that is still sticking out with a pair of scissors. You want to cut as close to the locking mechanism as possible to avoid possible injury to your turtle.

Position the driftwood so that the basking area is out of the water and the rest of the driftwood is underwater, providing the turtle a way to get on it. If you have a separate basking area above the water level, then place the basking platform you have just made slightly under the water level to provide your turtle a stepping basking platform to get to the larger basking area.


You can also use PVC pipes as supports.


Push down with slight pressure on your new basking platform test it to make sure that it is sturdy enough for your turtle to sit on.

Things You'll Need

  • Driftwood
  • Pot
  • Bucket
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 2 suction cups
  • 2 zip ties
  • Scissors
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