Tortoises and turtles are perhaps the slowest animals, let alone reptiles; now imagine them without legs (mobility will be nearly impossible). To help them get by, incredible people have devised means to aid in their locomotion. As a result, they can go faster than those with legs. Although they still cannot give cheetahs a run for their money, they will get a second chance at life.
Take a look at some famous tortoises and turtles with wheels and their stories.
#1. Helix the Internet Sensation
From birth, Helix had a rare deformity that rendered him immobile. He had a spina bifida like condition, which made his hind legs point upwards. Therefore, he couldn’t walk or place his feet down, denying him the chance to walk unaided.
Since Randy, his owner was an excellent pet owner, the tortoise got a second chance. He came up with the idea to attach finger skateboards to the lower part of its shell to function as a wheelchair. He used super glue to fix them in place, enabling the baby tortoise to walk like his friends by pushing forward with his limbs.
Randy would then replace the wheels every week after letting him bask for some time. He also took extra care of him by providing water to hydrate, but under his supervision. He would pick a different set of wheels for Helix and attach them with glue dots.
Randy was confident that Helix was what the world needed at the time. He decided to share the journey with the world via @helixwheels. He amassed a huge following as he offered inspiration to many pet owners and received gifts like drawings for Helix’s from his many fans.
Helix was hatched in July 2019 and died in January 2020. However, in his short life, he quickly shot to fame, and the whole world rushed to see this adorable baby tortoise speed around on his new wheels. With over 100k followers, he was undoubtedly one of the most famous reptiles of his time.
Although he only lived for a couple of months, the Helix story is undoubtedly one for the books. People were mainly in awe as they related to the story to find hope even during the pandemic’s trying times. So far, Helix has inspired merchandise, artworks, and children’s books.
#2. Schildi the Lego Ninja
Found in Germany, Schildi is another famous hot wheel on our list. His owners had abandoned him after he was severely injured but was rescued early enough to save his life. One of his limbs had severe damage, and there was no way to save it; doctors had to amputate it entirely from the base to save his life.
As soon as he was stable, they had to find a way to get him to walk again. A tortoise’s mobility is challenging due to its shell, and without a front limb, it was difficult for Schildi to move.
Dr. Azmanis was the brilliant mind behind the idea to give Schildi lego wheels. He creatively reached into the toy box and turned a lego into a prosthetic leg. He fixed it in place using glue and added blocks that adjusted the wheel to reach the ground. His reason was that he felt tortoises need to move around for better health and development.
The first instinct was to give him a double wheeled leg, which is easy to move around in as it exerts less pressure on the ground. However, the doctors realized that it was hard for Schildi to turn at corners. They finally settled on a single wheel and more adjusting blocks, which allowed the tortoise to have better navigation.
Once he was fine, they took him to a shelter, where they continued to follow up on his progress. If you wonder what happens if Schildi gets a “puncture”; all they have to do is change his tires! The doctors will only swap it out and replace it with another; Dr. Azmanis stated that the tortoise might need tire changing at least once a year.
Secondly, as he grows, they will have to adjust the wheel by attaching more blocks at the shoulder. What a brilliant idea to use legos, simple, light, and you can never run out of them.
#3. Tortoise Gamera on Wheels
Gamera, an African desert tortoise, is currently twelve years old and weighs about twenty-three pounds. Gamera obtained his name from a Japanese monster film fictional character of the same name.
Due to a horrible accident, the tortoise severely injured his leg, and the last resort was amputation. His injuries on the left forelimb were so severe that going without treatment would have killed him. His owner accompanied him to Washington University, and the doctors suggested a procedure to the server the appendage since it would be fatal if left alone.
Vets from the WUS hospital assisted Gamera back on his feet by fixing a wheel to replace his lost leg. The reptile can now cruise nicely with the caster, albeit with some people’s mocks that he looks like an office swivel chair.
With the wheel’s help, the tortoise can now easily reach for food. With proper feeding, he has gained some extra pounds since he checked into the hospital, from twenty pounds to twenty-three, to be exact. Thanks to the procedure, he can eat comfortably, and experts state that he can live to 60 years and weigh up to a staggering 200 pounds. This means that the doctors may need stronger wheels for Gamera in the future.
Currently, tortoise Gamera is thriving with his prosthetics. As you can see in this video below, he may even have another run with the tortoise-like in the old tales. The vets suggest that he stays in the hospital for a few more years as they monitor his progress and manage his new life on wheels.
The good news is that the incredible Gamera has adapted well to his new lifestyle. The hospital’s staff also states that the tortoise is now quite famous at the university, with many being impressed by animal health’s newest invention. Gamera is now a Washington University ambassador due to the positive image the reptile attracts.
#4. The Indian Star
You will be in awe the moment you step into the Arignar Anna Zoo in India. However, with all that the zoo has to offer, one female tortoise grabs the attention of many, as she struts on her wheels. She immediately captures keepers’ and visitors’ attention because she is the only one with artificial legs.
The tortoise is an Indian Star. These exotic species live in India’s dry regions and are well-known for their shells’ star-shaped marks.
A while back, the two-year-old was involved in a mongoose attack, which led to the loss of her front right limb. The predator came from a forest nearby, attacked her, and bit off her limb. They thought she would be okay with treatment but noticed that she couldn’t reach for food like her counterparts.
The greatest fear among tortoise owners is when their pets have trouble with their appetite. They suffer starvation and dehydration, which is fatal, especially for animals in captivity.
To help her resume her everyday life, caretakers decided to pimp her with wheels in a simple operation. It took thirty minutes for them to attach the prosthetic leg to her plastron. Doctors specially selected the wheels to be light to help her easily move around.
Currently, she quickly speeds past other tortoises in the cage with her wheels, and she can now reach the food faster than any of her buddies. Not only did the procedure save her life, but it seems that wheels come with extra food benefits.
#5. 90-Year-Old Mrs. T
Mrs. T was an ordinary, almost a hundred-year-old tortoise, who other tortoises would consider middle-aged. After thirty years of life as a pet, a rat attacked her in her enclosure. The owner, Linzi, came out to notice that her pet had severed front limbs.
Rats are known to prey on helpless tortoises, leaving them critical. Mrs. T was hibernating on the unfortunate day when she lost both front legs.
Linzi’s son, Dale, came up with the idea to give her wheels to replace the legs and help her move. Dale rummaged through his toy box and obtained a set of wheels from a toy aircraft, which perfectly fit the tortoise.
You can now see Mrs. T in this video cruising around in her hot wheels at a faster speed than any other tortoise you have seen. She uses her hind limbs to thrust forward, and the wheel does the rest. Linzi is particularly pleased that her pet now moves at twice her previous speed.
Although she was treated after the attack, Mrs. T still couldn’t move, but she was a natural when she got her wheels, immediately cruising around as if to show off. She also taught herself how to turn at corners and how to stop.
All Mrs. T needs is frequent tire changes, but the tortoise is fine now. Although tortoises don’t show their feelings, we are pretty sure that Mrs. T seems happy as she zooms past the pavements. Hopefully, she will keep showing off even when she gets to two hundred.
#6. Pedro the Turtle
It is a nightmare for a turtle to lose a limb. For one, it leaves the reptiles vulnerable to predators because they become easy targets. Secondly, wild turtles can starve due to immobility, and even those in captivity become entirely dependent on their owners; they cannot reach for food on their own.
Pedro is a male turtle that went through the same ordeal until Ms. Taylor found him. She took him in when he had three limbs and made him an outdoor enclosure.
Unfortunately, Pedro disappeared and returned home later on without the other hind limb. He only had two front limbs left when Ms. Taylor took him in again. She raked her brain to find an effective way to get Pedro back on his feet and decided to admit him at Louisiana University’s Veterinary School. The medics didn’t find anything wrong with Pedro’s health other than his missing anterior appendages.
Pedro’s family consulted with the doctor on what wheelchair would be best for him to resume his everyday life. After lengthy discussions, they decided to make him an indoor pet. This action was to protect him from predators and prevent him from going missing again. Their best option was lego wheels, which helped him regain mobility.
The vets safely attached the prosthetic on the reptile’s underside where his legs were positioned. They selected light and flexible lego wheels that enabled him to move quickly and make turns comfortably.
The new wheels have made Pedro faster than most average box turtles. Also, you can detach the wheels if you need to and reattach them. The LSU veterinary staff was also amazed at how Pedro turned out.
#7. Tortoise Bert on Wheels
Bert is a twenty-two-year-old African tortoise who lost his legs due to swelling of the hind limbs. His keeper believes that excessive mating may have caused it. The posterior limb problem may be from overusing the legs causing them to develop arthritis.
The swelling made movement difficult for the reptile due to severe joint pain. Considering he is a gigantic tortoise, his weight may have also played a significant part in overworking his bones.
Bert’s prosthetics are enormous and were custom-made to withstand his almost 230 pounds. With the wheel’s help, the tortoise can move around, and it also helps him heal faster since the reptile wouldn’t have to use his legs to support his enormous weight.
People who visit the park are attracted to Bert’s outfit. It is a sight to behold, with some children assuming that he is a mechanical reptile. However, over time, Bert will heal and resume his everyday young and energetic life. Perhaps he will keep being a favorite with the lady tortoises and hopefully, once he gets better, he will have learned a bit of self-control.
To Wrap It Up
Tortoise and turtles aren’t needy animals nor high maintenance, making it easy to keep them as pets even when they get injured. With the help of many exotic animal vets, your severed reptile can quickly get back on its feet. We highly commend the animals’ owners whose stories we have shared for loving their pets and helping them live everyday life.