Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Meet the real mutant ninja turtle!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A giant tortoise has been fitted with a special 'crash helmet' after he broke his shell in a fight with another tortoise.

Timmy the Aldabra tortoise was badly injured during a slow-motion scrap with a rival reptile at the zoo where he lives.

The 150kg (24st) creature was left with a gaping hole in one section of his shell, which worried his keepers.

They put their thinking caps on and came up with an innovative way to cover the cavity.

The keepers took a papier mache cast of a shell from another tortoise and used it as a base to build a sturdy fibreglass 'helmet' for Timmy.

Mike Bungard, curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates at Paignton Zoo in Devon, said Timmy would have to wear the plate during the slow healing process.

'The vets cleaned up the hole and the shell will grow back, but it could take 18 months,' he added.

'In the meantime, we needed to cover up the hole and we hit upon the idea of making a section of artificial shell out of fibreglass.'

Timmy, whose official name at the zoo is No.91, was the size of a fist when he arrived in the south-west and he is still growing.

He was taken in by keepers after being illegally imported from the Seychelles in 1986 and confiscated by customs officers.

At the age of 23, Timmy is a mere youngster as the Aldabra can grow to 225kg (35st) and live for more than 100 years.

Hopefully, that should give him enough time to bring his fighting skills up to scratch.!&in_article_id=667562&in_page_id=34

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