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September 29, 2018

Injured turtle gets a wheelchair made from parts of a popular children's game

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An injured wild Eastern box turtle got a new lease on life with a Lego toy.

A zoo employee of the Maryland Zoo found an injured wild Eastern box turtle at the nearby Druid Hill Park and brought it to work in order to get it the help it needed to heal.

The zoo veterinarian's unique solution to the turtle's problem was shared on the Maryland Zoo's website and has caught the imagination of viewers around the world, as the media spread the word of their ingenious hack.

Since there aren't any teeny tiny turtle wheelchairs available, the zoo staff decided to make one out of the most unusual materials. 

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“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.”

Dr. Ellen Bronson, Maryland Zoo, September 28, 2018.

AN INGENIOUS USE OF SURGICAL MATERIAL TO FIX THE TURTLE'S SHELL

To fix the break in the turtle's carapace, the veterinarians at the zoo hospital used metal bone plates, sewing clasps, and surgical wire to stabilize the turtle’s fragile, broken shell so it had a chance to heal.

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The catch was that in order for the healing to proceed successfully, the shell cannot touch the ground, and the team had to invent some wheels to allow the turtle to move.

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WHERE CAN YOU GET A WHEELCHAIR FOR A TURTLE?

The team knew they had to get the turtle some wheels, but where? And would anyone be prepared to make a wheelchair to fit the tiny patient? One of the vets at the zoo, Garrett Fraess, had an idea.

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“WE DREW SOME SKETCHES OF A CUSTOMIZED WHEELCHAIR AND I SENT THEM TO A FRIEND WHO IS A LEGO® ENTHUSIAST.”

Fraess' friend was charmed by the idea and proceeded to create a colorful custom-made wheelchair according to the specs - and he made it out of LEGO® blocks.

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NOT WHAT LEGO® HAD IN MIND; BUT A BRILLIANT HACK

He built a  small LEGO® frame to surround the turtle's shell and keep it off the ground. The device is attached to the edges of the turtle’s upper shell with plumbers putty.  This keeps the shell off the ground but allows the turtle's legs to move so he can walk.

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WARNING: DON'T KISS THE TURTLES

Not all turtle/ human interactions are as fortunate as this. Two friends out on a fishing trip bit off more than they could chew when they picked up a snapping turtle. Although, in truth, the one doing the biting was the turtle. 

Michael Ganley and his companion Victor Sanchez were fishing in  Burlington, Massachusetts when they came across a snapping turtle and decided to have some fun.

Ganley took hold of struggling, visibly irritated animal and tried to kiss it on its horny beak. This was a serious mistake because instead of giving him sugar, the turtle bit him on the lip. 

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Ganley should have known better, after all, in all the best fairytales everyone kisses frogs, not vicious snapping turtles. , 

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