It has been a long road to recovery, but the Lego turtle is finally ready to go home.
Back in 2018, the Eastern box turtle was found injured near Druid Hill Park by a zoo worker who then brought him into the Maryland Zoo. The zoo then looked after him, caring for his multiple fractures across his shell which made movement difficult for the turtle.
Dr. Ellen Bronson is the senior director of animal health, conservation, and research for the Maryland Zoo. When the turtle was taken in, she explained that his injuries consisted of multiple fractures on his plastron, which is the bottom portion of his shell. She further described the challenge the zoo faced by having to find the balance between allowing the turtle to still keep his mobility, while also giving his injuries time to heal.
As a result, the zoo’s veterinarians decided on a creative solution to fix the fractures. They secured the broken shell using a series of metal bone plates, sewing clasps, and surgical wire. However, in order for the shell to get a proper chance to heal, it couldn’t drag on the ground. The team of vets eventually found a great solution thanks to a friend who was a “LEGO enthusiast.” Thankfully, the LEGO aficionado was able to provide the perfect fix by creating the turtle a custom-built wheelchair. It didn’t hurt that the creation was colorful as well.
Dr. Bronson explained to the ABC affiliate WHAS 11 that turtles have slower metabolisms which means that they experience healing times that aren’t as quick as compared to mammals and birds. As a result, the turtled needed to rely on his LEGO wheelchair throughout the winter and into the spring of 2019 in order for all the broken fragments to bind together again.
Dr. Bronson further added, “He needed additional time to fully heal, but we were able to take the wheelchair device off him. We kept him at the hospital and continued to monitor his progress, giving him ample exercise time to strengthen his legs in preparation for release.”
The doctor was delighted with how far the turtle had come in his healing journey, thanks to the wheelchair. She was happy that the turtle would be able to return to his natural habitat. We definitely wish the little LEGO turtle the best of luck.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.