A 22-year-old African spurred tortoise that goes by the name of Bert has been outfitted with a new set of wheels to help it get around more easily after its keepers say they noticed swelling in his rear legs, likely due to injury from having too much sexual intercourse.
Image Credit: SWNS
Bert was taking part in a special breeding program for the last several months, and it turns out he was just having too much fun for his own good. The swelling in his hind legs was reportedly due to arthritis from overuse of his joints, and limited their movements making walking uncomfortable for the animal.
Those who were involved with the wheel outfitting say Bert is the largest tortoise ever to receive a set of wheels to help him walk. Such actions are becoming more common among the animal community, as dogs and even other fellow tortoises have been given similar mechanical means of being helped around.
Unlike some of the other examples, Burt’s wheels had to be pretty heavy-duty. He’s around 220 pounds, which is significantly heavier than many of the other animals who’ve needed help from the wheel.
While the wheels attract a lot of attention from the public, the park that takes care of Bert reportedly has its own informational center with plaques and information pieces about his condition.
“The wheels help Bert's mobility and will hopefully help him heal by aiding circulation,” park operations manager Adam Goymour explained. “The public are always interested by Bert and wonder why he has wheels. There is a sign up on the window of his enclosure that tells all the information about his previous injury and why he is on the wheels.”
“Kids love it and think he is a bionic tortoise and that he needs those wheels to help him with his super tortoise speed,” Goymour continued.
For what it’s worth, Bert is certainly in his prime. 22 is pretty young for the average life expectancy of about 60 years for his species. That said, it’s not surprising that he’s so interested in the female tortoises. Nevertheless, he will need to practice some self-control if he’s to prevent any additional rear leg injuries.
For now, Bert will continue to look like a bionic creature. But that's not such a bad thing for the park, as it sure attracts a lot of attention. And... from the looks of things... Bert likes attention.