Injured Turtle Given Lego Wheelchair To Help Him Get Around
A turtle has been given a new lease of life after vets created a tiny Lego wheelchair for him - and if that doesn't make you smile then, honestly, you're beyond hope.
The wile Eastern box turtle was found injured in a park in Maryland by an employee of Maryland Zoo. The zoo worker took the little turtle for treatment, where vet Dr Ellen Bronson found that he had multiple fractures on the bottom part of his shell which were affecting his mobility and, as result, struggling to heal.
The team of vets at Maryland Zoo performed surgery on the little fella to help stabilise the shell using metal plates and surgical wire.
Vet Garrett Fraess said: "It was important to keep the bottom of the shell off the ground so it could heal properly.
"They don't make turtle-sized wheelchairs. So, we drew some sketches of a customised wheelchair and I sent them to a friend who is a Lego enthusiast."
After making a number of sketches the wheelchair was built and within a few weeks of his surgery, he was the proud owner of a new set of wheels.
Fraess added: "He never even hesitated. He took off and has been doing great. Turtles are really good at healing as long as the shell remains stable."
Now, thanks to the wheelchair, he is healing well.
Dr Bronson said: "Turtles heal much slower than mammals and birds, since their metabolism is slower So, this turtle will likely use his Lego wheelchair through the winter and into the spring until all of the fragments have fused together and the shell has completely healed."
For now, the chair is designed so that he can still act as he would without it - allowing him to fully close his shell if he needs to and use his front legs to crawl about. Not to mention he looks pretty bloody cool rocking about in it.
The Maryland Zoo runs an Eastern box turtle monitoring project in the park that the turtle was found, which helps them to gain an insight into how the creatures live, while also enabling them to monitor declining numbers of the native turtles - it also helped them to age this turtle.
"This particular turtle was originally tagged in 2000, making him at least 18 years old," Bronson said.
"We are very happy that he is recovering well from his injuries and we plan to return him to the wild once he is fully healed."
Featured Image Credit: Maryland Zoo