Amputee Sea Turtle Swims For First Time With Prosthetic Flipper
A lot of the time the news, and people generally, can make you feel pretty shitty. But every now and again, a turtle swimming for the first time with a prosthetic limb wades into your life and paddles away those blues.
Rocky, a green sea turtle estimated to be around 25 to 30 years old, has struggled to swim for the majority of his life after he was hit by a boat at an early age, losing his front right flipper and suffering shell damage.
Due to the endangered status of the species, the federal government in Florida, USA, deemed Rocky unfit to be released into the wild and he was subsequently rescued by an aquarium in 2001. He had been using a life jacket style device to help him float, but he could not really swim - until the aquarium contacted prosthetist, Kevin Carroll.
The animal lover drove seven hours from his home in Orlando to take Rocky's measurements before building him a custom made prosthetic flipper in his spare time - a project that would normally cost around $6,000 (£4,660).
The video shows Rocky using his new limb for the first time at Key West aquarium in September.
Mr Carroll, who usually works with human patients, said 'it was absolutely breathtaking' to see him use the flipper.
He said: "We put it on and off he went swimming. It was fantastic to see.
"We put so much focus into making sure the prosthetic was correct so once he got into the water it was a wow moment.
"Before he got into the water he had great control over the flipper so I was thrilled with that.
"It was just amazing. It was absolutely breathtaking."
Rocky has since been using the limb for an hour every day, as well as undergoing regular physical therapy, and is no longer swimming in circles.
Mr Carroll said from his experiences, he has found turtles to have an amazing enthusiasm and can-do attitude.
He said: "I usually work with humans and I just worked with a child who had this great energy and a wonderful spirit.
"I find that with turtles they have an energy about them, a willingness to work with you. It's incredible to see.
"If they could talk, I think they would be saying, 'Let's do this.'"
Sounds like Mr Carroll has been dealing primarily with turtles of the teenage mutant ninja variety.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS