By Cally Brooks
This tortoise has to use a WHEELCHAIR to walk after it developed a condition which left it unable to walk.
Nicola Di Girolamo, 32, works at the Oklahoma State University in the veterinary centre and has found himself dealing with many strange animal encounters, including a tortoise that needed a wheelchair due to an underlying condition that left it unable to walk.
15-year-old Radar, a tortoise, was rescued by Oliver and Friends Farm Sanctuary but they soon discovered that he had developed a problem with his hind legs meaning he was left unable to walk.
Radar weighs 35 kilograms so was unable to drag himself along using his front legs, leaving him immobile and suffering.
The sanctuary brought Radar to meet Nicola where they did many different tests but were unable to find the exact cause of his condition.
Nicola decided to make Radar a wheelchair to help him move around and learn to use his back legs again.
Nicola, from Stillwater, Oklahoma, has been an animal doctor for the past 10 years and regularly posts his animal encounters on his popular Instagram account that has an impressive 63 thousand followers.
They had to try many different methods of building the wheelchair and ensuring it was comfortable for Radar, but eventually after two weeks in the vets, Radar was back home in his sanctuary where he began walking again with the help of his wheelchair.
This isn’t the first time that Nicola has made a wheelchair for a tortoise, as he made a 3D printed magnetic wheelchair for a tortoise who had lost its leg back in October 2017.
He said: “We did some tests on Radar, he had a CT scan, MRI but we couldn’t find the exact cause of his condition. Some tortoises are unable to walk with their back legs and it’s difficult to find out why – we think it’s some sort of nerve damage.
“Smaller tortoises can drag themselves along but as Radar was so big, he couldn’t do that so we decided to make him a wheelchair and gave him physical therapy. He was able to walk around and he started to use his own legs again.
“Now, Radar uses his wheelchair 70% of the time and his own legs for the remaining 30%.
“The wheelchair was designed in four days and we had to keep on changing it to make sure it suited him.
“The wheelchair helps him to move a bit quicker but he’s very heavy so it also helps him to sustain his weight. Without the wheelchair, he wouldn’t be able to move at all.