African Tortoise Loses Leg, Gains A Wheel

Washington State University veterinarians recently attached a swiveling ball-type caster wheel to a 12 year old African spurred tortoise whose left front leg was amputated because of an injury, the Washington Post reports. Last April, the 23 pound tortoise was brought to the hospital with the injury by its owner. Veterinarians at the teaching hospital deemed the injury life threatening and amputated the limb at the shoulder.

wheeled tortoise

The wheel enables the tortoise to move about on flat surfaces as well as on lawns fairly proficiently.

The vets then attached the wheel to the tortoise's shell with epoxy glue, and the tortoise immediately began using the device, the report said.  The tortoise has gained 3 pounds since the operation and wheel attachment, the report said. The wheel enables the tortoise to move about on flat surfaces as well as on lawns fairly proficiently.

The Sulcata tortoise (Geochelone (Centrochelys) sulcata) can grow to more than 200 pounds and lives in the Sahel region of Africa south of the Sahara desert. Its range stretches from Mauritania and northern Senegal eastward to northern Ethiopia. Previously a rare species, captive breeding programs have been very successful and the Sulcata is now a common tortoise found in captivity. The animals enjoy high heat and best live in warm climates, are great burrowers and eat most any vegetables. Grasses and dark leafy greens are staples. 

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