Giant Sulcata Tortoise With Underdeveloped Back Legs Takes His Very First Steps Using a Custom Wheelchair

A beautiful giant 11 year old sulcata tortoise named George Bailey who lives at an exotic animal reserve in Knoxville, Tennessee, took his very first steps with a custom wheelchair that was made just for him by Walkin’ Pets. The crew adapted their Walkin’ Scooter product with a harness to suit a growing tortoise who can reach up to 200 pounds.

The bones in his back legs are weaker than they should be to propel a 70lbs tortoise in his daily activities. He uses his front legs to pull his way around slowly and clumsily. The bigger he’s gotten, the more difficult this has been for him. He currently weighs close to 70 lbs., but may grow to weigh over 200 lbs.

George was born with underdeveloped back legs due to a metabolic disease that was probably caused by George’s previous captivity. While he can move his legs, he cannot support his own weight, so his legs give out on him all of the time.

Metabolic Bone Disease or MBD is a condition in many reptiles in captivity where there is an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in their diets or environments that are too cold for them. …His rear leg muscles still work so George is able to move his legs. George’s back legs are weak and give out frequently. Which has been a growing problem as he gets bigger and bigger. Mobility becomes more challenging as George Bailey matured.

George appeared very happy with his newfound mobility, according to his keeper Jamie Loebener.

George Bailey took to his new wheels immediately! …is very enthusiastic about his wheelchair and is living his happiest slowpoke life. Jamie can’t wait to bring George Bailey on his first walk out and about in his wheels!

via My Modern Met

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