News Good News With Lego wheels for limbs, Pedro the turtle is on a roll

With Lego wheels for limbs, Pedro the turtle is on a roll

Sandra Traylor (right) wasn't sure what vets would be able to do for Pedro. Photo: ABC
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Losing your limbs would be a death knell for most turtles, but Pedro is learning to roll with the punches (quite literally).

The adult male box turtle is living life in the fast lane after undergoing a Lego transplant to get him moving once more.

It’s been a rocky road for the turbo turtle, who only had three legs when he was adopted by his owners.

But after escaping from his outdoor enclosure in the US state of Louisiana, it’s believed he was attacked by a raccoon or snake, which severed his remaining back leg.

“While he had three legs, he was able to move around very well,” his owner Sandra Traylor said.

“However, once he lost his second leg it became significantly more difficult for him to get to where he was trying to go.”

Ms Traylor is the first to admit she wasn’t sure what – if anything – veterinarians could do to solve Pedro’s problem.

Suffice to say, a Lego car set probably wasn’t at the top of the list.

“The idea was a collective effort,” said Dr Kelly Rockwell, a zoological medicine intern at the Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“There have been previous reports of exotic veterinarians putting wheels or other prosthetics on turtles [and] tortoises with missing limbs.

“This was a perfect situation as Pedro had both of his back legs missing.”

‘The wheels have been a blessing’

According to Dr Rockwell, aside from Pedro’s weakened mobility, he was in otherwise good shape.

The wound where his leg had been torn off had healed quite well, she explained, and he was still able to “box up” inside his shell for protection.

“We discussed other prosthetics with his family if he was going to remain outdoors,” Dr Rockwell said.

“However, they opted to make him an indoor pet and these wheels provided the best mobility for him in that environment.”

Armed with a tube of animal-safe epoxy and a Lego car kit, veterinarians got to work.

They attached the wheels via axles that were secured to Pedro’s shell and held together by syringe cases.

“The most challenging part was figuring out a way to make it fit to his size,” Dr Rockwell said.

“It took some brainstorming, but once we came up with a design it was fairly easy to implement and attach.”

turtle wheels legs
Dr Kelly Rockwell (left) and Sandra Traylor watch as Pedro gets to grips with his wheels. Photo: ABC

The newfound Speedy Gonzales took to his new wheels with gusto, according to Dr Rockwell, reversing and turning the prosthetics “within minutes”.

“The benefit of Legos is that they are very lightweight, so for Pedro’s size it was a perfect fit,” she said.

“At the very least, I hope it inspires veterinarians who don’t work with these animals often to be creative.”

It is a sentiment echoed by Ms Traylor, who has lauded the veterinarians for going above and beyond the call of duty.

“We are so glad he feels better. The wheels have been a blessing to Pedro, who has in turn been a blessing to us,” she said.


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