Injured turtle at Md. Zoo gets LEGO wheelchair

(PHOTO: Md. Zoo)

BALTIMORE, Md. – An injured turtle at the Maryland Zoo got his own customized LEGO wheelchair.

“In July, an injured turtle was found in Druid Hill Park by a Zoo employee, and was brought to the Zoo’s hospital for treatment,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the Zoo. “He had multiple fractures on his plastron, the bottom part of his shell. 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 turtle underwent surgery to fix the fractured shell. Officials say metal bone plates, sewing clasps and surgical wire now hold the delicate shell fragments together.

A few weeks after surgery, the turtle received his very own multi-colored LEGO brick wheelchair. The small frame surrounds his shell and sits on four wheels. Plumbers putty attaches the device to the edges of the turtle’s upper shell, which gets him off of the ground and allows his legs to be freed up so he can move.

“Turtles heal much slower than mammals and birds, since their metabolism is slower So, 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,” said Dr. Bronson.