Sulcata Tortoise With Broken Shell Gets Treated Via San Diego’s Spirit Fund

April 17, 2018

A sulcata tortoise (Centrochelys sulcata) in San Diego, Calif. who broke his shell after falling from a 10-foot wall will hopefully be put back together this week and begin a long road to recovery.

Sulcata tortoise with cracked shell.

County of San Diego Communications Office

The tortoise fell off a 10-foot wall and landed on his shell, cracking it in several places.

According to San Diego County's County News Center, the 70-pound tortoise, estimated to be between 35 and 40 years old, was found by a good Samaritan who said a neighbor's dog chased the reptile, which then fell from the wall. The tortoise landed on his shell, breaking it into three pieces. He was brought to a reptile veterinarian who used screws, wire, epoxy and plastic wrap to temporarily put the shell back together, according to County News Center. Full reconstructive surgery is expected to take place today.

Sulcata tortoise

County of San Diego Communications Office

Screws, wire, epoxy resin and plastic wrap were used to help stabilize the tortoise's shell.

The main concern now is infection, but the tortoise has a fairly good prognosis given his treatment. The county availed of its Spirit Fund to help the tortoise get put back together again. 

“We have a donor-driven Spirit Fund that we can use for severe medical cases such as this one,” said County Animal Services Director Dan DeSousa. “This tortoise will get the extensive, aggressive care and long-term observation that he needs to regain his health and hopefully live to a great, old age.”

Sulcata Tortoise Care Sheet

The county is currently trying to locate the chelonian's keeper. If his keeper can't be located, the county will send him to a rescue that can provide the care for the reptile.

The county created the Spirit Fund in 2008 after a puppy, severely beaten, was found near the California/Mexico border. The dog's story generated so much interest and donations from across the country that the county launched the Spirit Fund in an effort to help other animals with medical needs. You can donate to the fund by visiting the Spirit Fund website.  

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