Zookeepers Build LEGO Wheelchair to Help Injured Turtle & It Actually Works

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A little ingenuity coupled with some plastic bricks can do amazing things. A perfect example is this wheelchair made out of LEGO bricks that zookeepers constructed to help an injured turtle. And yes, it’s as adorably heart-melting as it sounds.

The Maryland Zoo has given one turtle a new lease on life with the help of LEGO. The injured Eastern box turtle was brought to the zoo’s hospital for treatment after being found in a local park. Unfortunately, his injuries proved challenging to the zoo employees.

“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,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the zoo.

After undergoing surgery to repair his broken shell, the turtle wasn’t out of the woods. He was in need of a device to help keep the shell stable as it healed and unfortunately none exist that are small enough to fit a turtle of his size. So the team decided to design and build one themselves using LEGO bricks.

The new LEGO wheelchair is a perfect fit and allows the turtle to move around while keeping his healing shell safe. “The sketches proved to be a success and the turtle received his very own multi-colored LEGO brick wheelchair just a few weeks after surgery. The turtle is roughly the size of a grapefruit. The small LEGO frame surrounds his shell and sits on four LEGO wheels,” said Garrett Fraess, veterinary extern at the zoo. Turtles can take a long time to heal, which means he will likely be in the device until next year—and he’s still motoring around just fine.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Romina Veliz via Unsplash



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