Repurposed Office Chair Gives Amputee Tortoise A Leg Up

Repurposed Office Chair Gives Amputee Tortoise A Leg Up

Normally, losing a leg is a death sentence for a tortoise. Thanks to the help of one inventive vet however, this unlucky reptile now spends his days rolling around in style.

Earlier this year, a 12-year-old African spur-thighed tortoise named "Gamera" suffered "severe thermal injury and tissue damage" to its left front leg. Its owner consulted a vet who advised that the animal should be taken to see Dr. Nickol Finch, head of Exotic Animal Services at Washington State University.

Finch's team found that the injury was life-threatening, and, unable to care for the animal, Gamera's owner relinquished care of the tortoise to Dr. Finch. In an effort to save the creature's life, its leg was amputated at the shoulder, and the vet surgically installed a feeding tube as a precaution, in case Gamera was unable to feed itself after surgery.

Grim as it may seem, the above was simply a preamble for the most interesting part of this story. WSU Today reports:

To help the animal ambulate after the surgery, a small swiveling ball-type caster was attached to its shell with an epoxy adhesive. The animal took to his new prosthetic quickly with little encouragement and ambulates well on most surfaces.

WSU Today makes the tale sound a bit clinical, when the reality is hilariously awesome, hilariously adorable and hilariously clever. Using epoxy and custom-built mountings, Dr. Finch's team attached a modified desk chair wheel directly to Gamera's shell. As you can see in the embedded clips, it seems to work wonderfully as a replacement leg.

In fact, the makeshift prosthetic works so well that Gamera has barely needed to use his surgical feeding tube at all. During his convalescence Gamera has packed on three pounds of body weight. Given that the injury had caused the animal to drop to 20 pounds total prior to the surgery, that's a phenomenal increase.

The creation of this prosthetic is truly inventive, and a testament to Dr. Finch's ingenuity as well as her dedication to helping improve the lives of her patients. Let's just hope this wheel doesn't hinder Gamera's ability to fight Barugon.

Source: WSU Today, via Geekologie


I approve of any action that brings us closer to having legions of cyborg animal minions. Tortoises are basically the Robocops of the animal kingdom anyway.

Yes, 'inventive'.

"Hmmm, how awesome would it be to put wheels on a tortoise"

*Days later*

"Fucking win!"

Bombing in Oslo... Faith in humanity - 10

Seeing this... Faith in humanity +7

Its does my heart good to see it, and it went along way to undoing a depressing day.

Next step: lasers, jetpacks, and of course missles.

On a more serious note: Some form of tripod wheel would probably help with stability in movement a bit.

Next we should replace all the legs with rolling wheels and use the still living tortoise in a game of curling. It would be even more impressive if it was a snapping turtle.


Seriously, that is adorable.

Look-at-im, rolling around with his wheel...cos he is the shit.

"Gamera" is a turtle, not a toroise. Oh, yeah, is giant, flies and breathes fire, but that's just a quibble.

Wonder how much they modified the wheel for tortoise use.

Stories like this always make me happy to be human. What happened in Olso has shaken my faith a fair bit, but I am always reminded by the little things like this that most of us are ingenious creatures with a passion for helping others, be they human or tortoise.

And yet the battle still goes on, for every aided tortoise there is a murder, and for every point for us on the alien 'do not destroy' scoreboard there is one against. I hope one day soon sanity and fairness reign supreme, but it seems most people have been waiting for that to happen for millennia. Our own nature seems to ruin the dream, I just hope there are wheel-ed tortoises left to rule the world when we destroy ourselves.

I read this as "...Gives Amputee a Tortoise Leg Up" and I was like whaaa-? Wierd. But yeah, this is rather heartwarming.

Today, it's a prosthetic. Tomorrow:

Two more wheels and a rocket, and he'll be ready to show that hare who's faster next time!

I kid. But still, awesome use of ingenuity.

Heared this before. Frim a differet source..

Thanks for the free smile Escapist!

This is adorable beyond words. I always loved turtles.

Actually I'm pretty sure this is standard procedure for turtles that lose legs, or at least has been done before. When I was a kid I remember watching Animal Planet a lot, and one segment of a show focused on a turtle that had his leg replaced with a wheel. Not only did the wheel function as a perfect replacement, it also made the turtle the fastest one out of all the turtles in the zoo.

Also Gamera is probably one of the least creative names for a tortoise but still manages to be one of the best ones.

Anyone else love the way it eats? I don't know why, but I love greedy animals - they make me happy when they stuff their chubby little faces.

I can imagine this being some sort of bet amoung the veterinarians.

"Okay, next, replace all its legs with wheels."

"Now, let's attach a rocket on its back and see how far it goes."


Bentley from Sly Cooper now has a rolling buddy!

We have the technology!

Faster, stronger....rollier, better then he was before!

In all seriousness, this is heartwarming and brought a smile to my face. ^^ I might even let loose a quiet "D'aww!" later...when I'm alone and nobody is listening in.

I, for one, welcome our new cyborg turtle overlords.
But that's just goddamn adorable, I could actually 'squee'.

Next stop: putting him on 4 wheels and add an engine and brakes.

Bentley from Sly Cooper now has a rolling buddy!

hell yeah

But Bently got a girl(that bunny chick he banging)


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