When an employee of The Maryland Zoo found an injured wild Eastern box turtle, they brought him to the zoo’s hospital for treatment. There were injuries on the bottom part of his shell and the location of them made it difficult to repair so the turtle could be mobile while healing.
The zoo’s veterinary team did surgery to stabilize the badly fractured shell and held it together using metal bone plates, sewing clasps and surgical wire. Zoo officials say there aren’t devices small enough for tiny turtles to use, so they got creative and sketched a custom wheelchair and shared the sketches with a LEGO enthusiast friend, who brought the design to life, using LEGO bricks.
The grapefruit-sized turtle now has a small LEGO frame surrounding his shell that sits on four LEGO wheels, so he can get around. The zoo says he’s adapting well to his new situation, but like with most things, turtles take longer to heal than other animals, so he’ll likely have his wheelchair until next spring.