His carers lifted the animal onto the wheeled board on Tuesday, relieving pressure on its shoulder muscles. After being whipped with the tires, the turtle rushed to the prepared lettuce and zucchini.
Orthopedic technician Ulrich Schade read that Helmuth suffers from arthritis and designed and built the skateboard in collaboration with veterinarian Judith Appenitz. “We are happy that everything went well and that Hellmouth can eat grass in the pasture again in warm temperatures,” says the doctor on the zoo’s website.
The tortoise has not been able to breed itself independently since January. For the past few weeks it was actually raised on a four-wheel rack, but that only worked on the smooth interior surfaces. Now an outdoor solution has also been found, which “adapts to the body in a way that a turtle cannot turn on it,” Wapnitz explains. “He has mastered even a small slope – he is a real fighter.”
With adequate training, Helmuth may be able to do without his new aid in the future, as the doctor concludes with hope.
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