A 22-year-old African spurred tortoise has been fitted with a snappy set of wheels after developing early onset arthritis in his back legs as a result of over-extending himself while taking part in a breeding program.
Bert, the 100-kilogram (220-pound) reptile, participated in the program for two months back in 2011, during which time he sired an unknown number of offspring with up to five different females. However, when the fun was over and he returned home to the Secret Animal Garden at the Dinosaur Adventure Park in England, his keepers noticed severe swelling in his hind legs.
This severely restricted Bert’s movement and curtailed his quality of life. It later transpired that he had developed arthritis, which surprised vets as African spurred tortoises – which can live for up to 80 years – don’t normally suffer from the condition until they are at least 30.
In an attempt to put a spring back in Bert’s step, his carers strapped wheels beneath his posterior end, which seems to have done the trick as he is now much more spritely than previously, particularly in the winter when cold temperatures trigger his arthritis.
According to his carers, Bert is the heaviest tortoise ever to be pimped up with a set of wheels.