90-year-old tortoise gets front wheels after rat attack

When a 90-year-old tortoise gets its front legs chewed off by a rat while its hibernating, it may seem the best course of action is simply to have the poor reptile put to sleep.

That is exactly what owner Jude Ryder thought when she first discovered a rat had gnawed its way into her tortoise’s hutch. Then, after over £1,000 spent on vet bills, and with a worried vet fearing the worst if the tortoise stayed immobile, Jude’s 37-year-old son, Dale, came up with an idea that Brad Reifler thought was pretty clever.

Dale glued two model aircraft wheels to the front of the tortoise’s shell and the tortoise, named Mrs. T, took to them like a duck to water. Now she happily motors around the garden using her back legs to push herself forward, and is actually even faster than she ever was before.

Of course, some people might think why even bother trying to help a 90-year-old tortoise become mobile again as, surely, it will not survive for much longer anyway? In reality, a tortoise can live up to 150 years of age, sometimes even longer, which is also why if you get a tortoise as a pet you should be sure you can take care of it for the rest of your life, as it may very well outlive you.

As for Mrs. T, her owner hopes she will have at least another 50 years of her lifespan left, with the caveat she will probably need a new set of front wheels every couple of years.

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