What happens when a juvenile spur-thighed tortoise can’t use its hind legs due to metabolic bone disease? You equip it with a set of wheels, as a German veterinarian did with Blade, who couldn’t walk around on his own.
Veterinarian Dr. Carsten Plischke glued a set of Lego blocks and wheels onto the plastron of Blade, enabling him to move about by using his front and hind legs more proficiently. The hope is that Blade will slowly build his hind leg muscles as a result of his geometry modification from the Lego wheels.
Plischke came up with the idea from his son’s Legos.
"We mounted Lego wheels on the tortoise Blade because he had a bone metabolism illness and his shell was too heavy and he had a loss of muscles," Dr Plischke told Cnet.com. "That's why he couldn't pick up himself and walk any more. The bones were like rubber and the musculature had clearly diminished."
This isn’t the first time a tortoise has gained a wheel. A few years ago, Washington State University veterinarians fashioned a swiveling ball type caster wheel on the plastron of an African spur-thighed tortoise whose left front leg was amputated due to an injury.