They see me rollin’: The wheely good idea to help Bert the arthritic tortoise
- Credit: Archant
Bert the tortoise has been given a set of heavy duty tyres to help him get around his home at the Dinosaur Adventure Park in Lenwade after a leg injury left him a shadow of his former shell.
The 22 year-old African spurred tortoise, also known as a sulcata tortoise, injured his leg in 2011 on his return from Swallow Aquatics in Norwich where he was loaned out to take part in a breeding programme.
He has since been suffering bouts of inflammation and finding it difficult to walk. Vets were called after Bert was showing signs of early onset arthritis.
He has been using his wheels for eight weeks to help ease the swelling and improve his mobility.
Park operations manager Adam Goymour said: 'The wheels have helped him over winter to stop them seizing up and causing more pain to Bert.
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'He has been spending the majority of his time in the inside area of his enclosure, but does still go outside to eat grass when encouraged as he does not hibernate.'
Bert has since been coming out of his shell and attracting attention from curious visitors.
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Mr Goymour said: 'The public are always interested by Bert. There is a sign up on the window of his enclosure that tells all the info about why he is on wheels.
'Kids love it and think he is a bionic tortoise and that he needs those wheels to help him with his super tortoise speed.'
Bert has been with the park since 2007 when he was on loan from the Norfolk Tortoise Club before being officially donated in 2013.
He weighs almost 100kg (15 stone) and measures at 2ft 6inches. Tortoises of his type are the third largest in the world and can live as long as 60 years.
The Park is hoping Bert's condition improves soon so his wheels can be removed next month.
He will probably not need them again until next winter.