BALTIMORE — We know turtles have a reputation for being a tad slow-moving, but would that change if one has a custom Lego wheelchair attached to it?
The zoo fastened a custom Lego wheelchair on an Eastern box turtle that was injured in the summer of 2018, and today the turtle has been released to its natural habitat after healing thanks to the new ride.
In July of 2018, the turtle was found in Druid Hill Park with several fractures along the bottom of his shell that made it hard for him to move.
Dr. Ellen Bronson is the senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the zoo. She said the placement of the fractures was unique and wouldn't allow for usual healing methods to work, meaning the team had to get creative.
"He had multiple fractures on his plastron, the bottom part of his shell," she said. "Because of the unique placement of the fractures, we faced a difficult challenge with maintaining the turtle's mobility while allowing him to heal properly."
The vet team at zoo stabilized the little guy with multiple surgeries, including adding metal bone plates and surgical wire to keep his shell together.
Garrett Fraess was a part of the team that helped look over the turtle. He said it was crucial the bottom half of the shell stayed together and that some of those surgical methods proved difficult -- so they decided to draw up some sketches, sending the wheelchair ideas to a Lego enthusiast friend of his.
So thus, a one of a kind ride was born. The multi-colored Lego ride surrounds the shell of the turtle -- who is no bigger than a grapefruit -- and sits on his four wheels, with strong plumber's putty attaching it to the upper shell to free up leg mobility. The turtle is still able to move around his legs on the inside and outside, behavior zoologists said was important to keep up with healing. Read more at WHAS