A 90-year-old tortoise named Mrs T has been given a new set of wheels and new lease on life after rats chewed off her legs.
Earlier this year the hibernating reptile from Wales was woken up when rats began gnawing on her legs.
“She had been tucked up safe but somehow the enclosure must have been opened,” said owner Jude Ryder.
“When [my son] brought her inside he saw that a hungry rat had started to eat three of her legs, a freak accident that no one could see coming.”
A vet was able to save the reptile but at a cost – both the tortoise’s front legs were amputated and the owners were left with a £1,000 bill.
Mrs Ryder was concerned Mrs T wouldn’t survive without her legs but her mechanical engineer son Dale came to the rescue with the ingenious idea of sticking two wheels and an axis from a model aircraft on to her shell.
Mrs T the tortoise is now hooning around at twice her normal speed.
“It was like fitting her with a turbo charger – she’s going double the speed she used to,” said Mrs Ryder.
The family says the tortoise could live for another 50 years – as long as she gets her tyres changed.
“She uses her back legs to push herself along, she seems quite happy but it’s difficult to tell with a tortoise.”