Tortoise Gets Wheels To Replace Lost Legs But We Can Go Further

Rats, proving their position as Nature’s Assholes, gnawed off the front legs of a 90-year-old tortoise that was hibernating. What kind of jerk gnaws off your legs when you’re freaking hibernating? To help the tortoise, a pair of wheels were fitted. That’s pretty good. But what more can we do?


The wheels were fitted via a sort of slide-in axle and strap unit that’s placed on the tortoise, known as Mrs. T, which then propels itself with its back legs. Turning seems to be accomplished by pushing one leg at a time, sending the wheeled tortoise in the direction opposite the selected leg, sort of like a skid-steer tank or something.

That’s pretty good, and it’s giving this nearly century-old lady a whole new mode of locomotion. But why stop there? The turtle is faster than before, and most likely has gotten a taste for speed. So, with a few simple modifications, we can really let this tortoise book. Here’s what I’m thinking:

See, we use wheels with small hub-mounted electric motors, each independently controllable. We mount a small battery pack on the shell, housing one battery per motor. At the turtle’s feet, we have small pedal-like actuators/switches for the feet to push, each of which operates that side’s wheel motor.

That way, the turtle is already basically familiar with how to steer — go left, push with right foot, go right, push with left, go forward, use both. I’m sure the tortoise will pick it up in no time.


Even with small motors, the tortoise should be able to work up some decent speed — not much, but quick enough for Mrs. T. Braking would be accomplished by just letting off the pedals and letting the motor’s resistance slow things down. Plus, she can always pull her head in her shell if she’s going to whack into a wall or something, right? Besides, she’ll have an adorable tiny helmet.

Seems fun, right? So, if Mrs. T’s owner, Jude Ryder, wishes to pursue this exciting development for her tortoise, she knows where to find us.


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