doctors create a custom LEGO wheelchair for an injured turtle at the zoo
 

doctors create a custom LEGO wheelchair for an injured turtle at the zoo

when an injured turtle was brought to the maryland zoo’s hospital for treatment of fractures on the bottom part of his shell, doctors knew they needed an inventive solution to both help maintain his mobility and allow him to heal properly. following a surgical procedure to stabilize the wild eastern box turtle’s severely fractured shell, the veterinary team realized the importance of keeping the bottom of the shell off the ground so it could heal properly. ‘they don’t make turtle-sized wheelchairs,’ said garrett fraess, veterinary extern at the zoo ‘so, we drew some sketches of a customized wheelchair and I sent them to a friend who is a LEGO enthusiast.’

turtle lego wheelchair
all images courtesy of the maryland zoo

 

 

the turtle at the maryland zoo received a customized, colorful LEGO wheelchair a few weeks following his surgery, featuring a design that allows him to exhibit natural behaviors — like fully closing his shell if he feels threatened. the tiny LEGO frame completely surrounds his shell and sits on four brick wheels. plumbers putty was used to affix the device to the edges of the his upper shell, elevating him off of the ground and allowing his legs to move freely. ‘turtles heal much slower than mammals and birds, since their metabolism is slower,’ said dr. ellen bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the zoo. ‘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.’

turtle lego wheelchair
the tiny LEGO frame completely surrounds his shell and sits on four brick wheels

turtle lego wheelchair
plumbers putty was used to affix the device to the edges of the his upper shell

turtle lego wheelchair
the design allows the turtle to exhibit natural behaviors

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