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Disabled tortoise gets Lego wheel for missing leg

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 Schildi the bionic tortoise relies on a Lego wheel to get around. (TheLocal.de / Birdconsulting International veterinary practice)

Schildi the tortoise is lucky to be alive -- and thanks to his brand new prosthetic Lego wheel leg, he's also one of the coolest-looking tortoises you'll likely ever see.

Abandoned in the German countryside, Schildi was severely injured when a good-hearted citizen brought him to veterinarians at the Birdconsulting International veterinary practice in Baden, Germany.

"He was in pretty bad shape when they brought him to us," said Dr. Panagiotis Azmanis to The Local. "The lower part of his front leg was missing, and the upper part was very bad, with bone showing, and maggots in necrotic flesh."

After working to stabilize him, veterinarians were forced to amputate Schildi's leg.

The animal recovered successfully from his injuries, but was left unable to move around without a fourth appendage.

Azmanis had an idea.

"Tortoises need to run free in gardens, so he needed a prosthetic," he said. An office toy box had just what Schildi needed.

Azmanis explained to the Local that he used special veterinary surgical glue to stick a Lego base block to the underside of the tortoise's shell.

"After that we could add blocks to achieve the correct height," he said, noting that this may be necessary as the animal grows.

After the blocks were in place, a small Lego wheel was added for mobility.

"First we fitted a double wheel but it was difficult for him to turn corners so we replaced it with a single wheel and that is much better for him," said Azmanis.



Now, as the above video shows, Schildi can scoot around just fine. He currently resides at an animal shelter.

"We will see him again once in a while for check-ups," Azmanis said. "If he gets a 'flat tire' it will be a simple matter to replace the wheel. They move around quite a lot so I'd expect to see him for a new wheel about once a year."

Schildi isn't the only animal who gets around with some technological assistance.

Earlier this year, one pet owner made headlines with the innovative underwater wheelchair she fashioned for her disabled goldfish, and CBC Reader Keely McIllwain shared the story of her homemade dog wheelchair with us last July.

Have you ever done something to assist an animal in need? Share your stories with us below!

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