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9 DIY Turtle Ramp & Platform Plans You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

turtles in terrarium

Turtles are fascinating creatures that require specific habitats to thrive. If you have a pet turtle, one of the essential features of their enclosure is a basking ramp. But these ramps can be pricey, leading many people to want to just build one themselves. Here are the DIY turtle ramp plans you can build today:

The 9 DIY Turtle Ramps & Platforms

1. DIY PVC Turtle Ramp by Instructables

DIY turtle ramp and platform
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: 1-1/2″ PVC piping, PVC Cleaner, PVC Cement
Tools: Pipe cutter or hacksaw, file or pliers, tape measure, pencil, scissors
Difficulty Level: Hard

The PVC Turtle Ramp is an excellent project for those wanting to create a robust and secure ramp for their pet. This design uses 1-1/2″ PVC piping as the main structure, which is cut to size and connected using PVC cleaner and cement.

This design offers a high level of security and stability, assuring your turtle can safely access their basking spot. It’s an affordable option that can be customized to suit your turtle’s preferences.

2. DIY Plastic Bin Turtle Ramp and Basking Area by The Turtle Girl

Materials: Plastic shoe-box sized tote or bin, craft wire
Tools: Hot knife, saw, or utility knife
Difficulty Level: Easy

The Plastic Bin Turtle Ramp and Basking Area is a simple yet effective DIY project. A plastic shoe-box sized tote or bin forms the main structure, with the side of the container cleverly used as the ramp itself.

Craft wire is strung across the top of the container’s walls, creating a ramp for your turtle to easily climb up and down from the basking platform. This design is perfect for anyone seeking a quick and easy basking ramp that also looks great.

3. DIY Stick, Twig, and Grass Ramp by Long Live Your Turtle

Materials: Acrylic sheet, turf grass, sticks and twigs
Tools: Hot glue gun, drill
Difficulty Level: Hard

The Stick, Twig, and Grass Ramp is an intricate DIY project that adds a natural touch to your turtle’s enclosure. The ramp, composed of an acrylic sheet with raised edges, provides extra grip for your turtle as they navigate the ramp.

Sticks and twigs are hot-glued onto the ramp for additional grip, while turf grass (or an artificial substitute) is placed on the surface of the ramp to add a natural feel. This design requires a good amount of time and effort, but the result is a unique addition to your turtle’s enclosure.

4. DIY Plastic Mesh Tray/Basket Ramp by INDIAN AQUATICS

Materials: Plastic mesh tray/basket, aquarium-safe silicone
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty Level: Easy

The Plastic Mesh Tray/Basket Ramp is an inexpensive and easy DIY project for those wanting to create a secure basking ramp. This design uses a plastic mesh tray or basket as the main structure, with the sides curled inwards to form a ramp.

The tray is secured in place with aquarium-safe silicone and rocks are placed around the edges to provide extra grip. This design offers a secure ramp for your turtle, while also being an inexpensive solution.

5. DIY Bamboo Platform by Pawty Time

Materials: Bamboo sticks, string
Tools: Utility knife
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Introducing the Bamboo Platform, an elegant DIY project that infuses a touch of nature into your turtle’s environment. This platform is crafted entirely from bamboo sticks, lending a rustic charm to the tank while fulfilling a crucial functional need. The bamboo sticks not only form the sturdy structure of the platform but also serve as the climbing surface, their natural texture providing an excellent grip for your turtle.

The bamboo pieces are held together by sturdy strings, ensuring a secure and stable platform that offers a safe passage for your turtle to its basking spot. This moderate difficulty level project seamlessly combines aesthetics with utility, enhancing your pet’s habitat while catering to its needs.

6. DIY Wooden Floating Basking Ramp by Mr Turtledude

Materials: Wood, dowel rods, glue
Tools: Drill
Difficulty Level: Hard

The Wooden Floating Basking Platform is a DIY project worth investing time and effort in. Although it’s more demanding compared to other plans, the result is a unique and visually striking addition to your turtle’s tank.

This design employs wood and dowel rods, creating a floating structure that is securely attached to the side of the tank. The dowel rods connect the wooden pieces together, forming a secure and stable platform. This project is ideal for anyone seeking a blend of aesthetic appeal and functionality for their pet turtle’s habitat.

7. DIY Styrofoam Turtle Dock by Instructables

DIY turtle ramp and platform
Image Credit: Instructables
Materials: Styrofoam, river rocks
Tools: Hot glue gun
Difficulty Level: Easy

The Styrofoam Turtle Dock is an excellent project for those seeking an affordable and straightforward basking ramp. This design uses styrofoam as the base, with river rocks providing added traction and stability.

The Styrofoam is shaped as needed, and the rocks are glued onto the Styrofoam surface. This project is a great option for anyone looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-build turtle ramp, resulting in a stylish and functional basking ramp in no time.

8. Above-Tank DIY Egg Crate Basking Platform and Ramp by Brady Ellis

Materials: Egg crate, zip ties
Tools: Branch cutters or heavy-duty scissors, marker
Difficulty Level: Moderate

The Above-Tank Egg Crate Basking Platform and Ramp is an ingenious way to create a secure and stable basking ramp. This design uses egg crates as the main structure. The creator left theirs plain, but you can decorate with aquarium logs and rocks placed on top if you want.

The egg crate forms the base of the platform and ramp, cut to size and held together with zip ties. This design offers extra security, ensuring your turtle can comfortably reach their basking spot.

9. Naturalistic DIY Basking Area by DIYReptiles

Materials: Piece of flat wood or driftwood, scrap board, screws
Tools: Screwdriver
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you’re looking for a swift and simple solution for a turtle basking ramp, this Naturalistic Basking Area is an ideal DIY project. Requiring some pieces of wood and screws, this design forms a wood ramp/platform basking structure for one or multiple turtles.

This design is perfect for those who don’t have access to any special tools or equipment and can be completed swiftly, although it might take some trial and error to get the wood just right.

Important: Never Use These Items in Your Turtle Tank

While setting up a turtle tank, it’s essential to know what items are safe and which ones could potentially harm your pet. Here are some items you should avoid:

Sharp Objects

Avoid placing any sharp objects inside your turtle tank. This includes sharp rocks, broken glass, or any decorations with pointy edges. Turtles can easily injure themselves on these items, leading to cuts and infections.

Toxic Plants

Some plants are toxic to turtles and should never be placed in their tank. Always research the safety of a plant before adding it to your turtle’s habitat.

Unsanitized Natural Items

While using natural items like rocks, driftwood, or leaves can make the tank look more natural, it’s crucial to sanitize these items properly before placing them in the tank. They can harbor bacteria, parasites, or harmful chemicals that can pose a risk to your turtle’s health.

Pet turtle. Red eared turtle in the aquarium
Image Credit: Mark Leung, Shutterstock

Treated Wood

Treated wood often contains chemicals that can leach into the water and harm your turtle. Always use untreated wood for any DIY projects in your turtle tank.

Metal Objects

Metal objects can rust over time when submerged in water. Rust can be harmful if ingested by your turtle, so make sure to use metal that won’t rust or avoid metal entirely.

Certain Substrates

Avoid using substrates like gravel or sand that can be easily ingested by your turtle, potentially leading to impaction. Instead, opt for larger river rocks or a bare-bottom tank.

Soap and Cleaning Chemicals

Never use soap or household cleaning chemicals to clean your turtle tank. These products can leave a residue that is harmful to turtles. Instead, use a vinegar solution or products specifically designed for cleaning reptile habitats.

african sideneck turtle in aquarium
Image Credit: Megan Czarnocki, Shutterstock


We hope you found some great ideas for making a DIY basking ramp or platform for your aquatic turtle in this article. Remember, the most important thing is to create a safe and comfortable environment for your pet. Always ensure the ramp is secure and the right size for your turtle. Happy building!

Featured Image Credit: Katerina Schweizer, Shutterstock

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