Meet Helmuth, a 24-year-old turtle weighing 100 kilograms, who recently returned to a mobile phone despite an unpleasant shoulder disease. The turtle can finally move freely again in its outer fence at the zoo in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Thanks to the skateboard.
On Tuesday, his caregivers gently lifted the animal onto a board with colored wheels, relieving pressure on its shoulder muscles. After Helmut was whipped with the tires, the tortoise scurried over to some 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 glad that everything went well and that Helmuth can eat grass in the pasture again in warm temperatures,” the doctor says on the zoo’s website.
The tortoise has not been able to breed itself independently since January. For the past few weeks it’s actually been raised on some kind of four-wheel rack, but this only worked on the smooth interior surfaces. Now a solution has been found outside as well.
“The skateboard adapts to the body in such a way that the turtle cannot turn over. He has already mastered even a small slope. He is a true 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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