After a suspected mongoose attack, a female tortoise in Arginar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai, India has been given a second chance to crawl around again after losing its front right leg in the struggle.
Although a new leg wasn’t affixed to her existing stub, the tortoise got something even cooler that makes her the fastest tortoise in town: a set of custom-made wheels.
Image Credit: Arun Sankar, Getty Images
The wheels are attached to the bottom of the tortoise’s shell during what was cited to be a 30-minute operation, and while it doesn’t make the critter as capable as other tortoises across land, it certainly helps on smoother surfaces like paved sidewalks.
Although it’s nothing high-tech, like that of what you would expect to see come out of a 3D printer, the wheels certainly do their job and help the tortoise in getting around.
The right side of the axle, which is on the side of the injured leg, is pitched forward more to assist with leverage, while the left side is pitched backwards more to help keep it out of the way of her left leg.
A video, which surfaced on YouTube, shows the tortoise having made strides in learning to use the wheels to mobilize himself for the first time since the attack.
"I have never seen this, but it looks like a really good idea," says Kenneth Krysko, the collection manager of herpetology for the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainsville."It probably saved the animal. We see injured turtles like this all the time, so I'll have to remember this."
So many turtles and tortoises are injured on a daily basis that having a means to help them get back on their feet will greatly improve their quality of life after an accident or an encounter. Fortunately for them, being herbivores, finding food on the ground won't be an issue, whether theyhave wheels or feet.
This certainly isn’t the first tortoise ever to receive human help, recently another of the species that got caught up in a forest fire was given a totally new 3D-printed shell and was custom painted by an artist.
Source: National Geographic