Bert the bonking tortoise has wheels fitted after wearing leg out through too much sex

newsroom-news-uk-yahoopartner:

Bert and his new wheels (SWNS)

A randy tortoise who developed arthritis after having too much sex has been fitted with a pair of wheels to help him get around.

Bert, a 22-year-old African spurred tortoise, now travels around with the help of heavy duty wheels strapped to his shell whenever his back left leg swells up.

His keepers believe he is the largest tortoise in the world to have wheels fitted.

Bert lives at the Secret Animal Garden at the Dinosaur Adventure Park in Norfolk.

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His keepers took the drastic move after they noticed severe swelling in his rear legs restricted his movement when he returned from a breeding programme in 2011.

Bert has developed arthritis early, say experts (SWNS)

During his two month visit Bert, described as a “prolific breeder” by his keeper, had his way with up to five females producing an unknown number of offspring.

But it appears the sweet-loving took its toll on the 100kg tortoise and vets later discovered that he had developed early onset arthritis on his return.

After struggling to get around, especially in the winter when his legs seize up, his keepers decided to use the wheels and painkillers to ease his pain.

“He is a lover not a fighter, that is certainly true.,” said Martin Hocking, acting manager at the park.

Bert lives at a park in Norfolk (SWNS)

“I wasn’t there for the whole time (he was away on the breeding programme) but I imagine he was quite interested in the female tortoises.

“African spurred tortoises are prolific breeders who can produce up to 60 to 70 offspring a year and he is no exception.”

Bert leg flared up when he returned from the breeding programme in 2011 and again at the end of last year.

He has spent the past eight weeks on his wheels, park operations manager Adam Goymour revealed.

He said: “The wheels help Bert’s mobility and will hopefully help him heal by aiding circulation.

His arthritis gets particularly bad in cold weather (SWNS)

“The public are always interested by Bert and wonder why he has wheels, there is a sign up on the window of his enclosure that tells all the info about his previous injury and why he is on the wheels.

“Kids love it and think he is a bionic tortoise and that he needs those wheels to help him with his super tortoise speed.”

Bert has lived at the dinosaur park since 2007.

African Spurred tortoises are also known as Sulcata tortoises and live up to around 60. They do not hibernate.

He is due to come off his wheels in the next month and once they are off he probably won’t need them till next winter, Adam revealed.

Peter Wedderburn, a vet based in Dublin, Ireland, who works with a variety of animals including tortoises, said: “I wouldn’t expect arthritis to develop until they are 30 at least.

“It is definitely down to over use and over stress on the back legs.”

typhlonectes:

Forest Conservation Has a New Poster Child: The Gopher Tortoise

The imperiled reptile will benefit from a plan to help landowners preserve America’s disappearing long-leaf pine trees.

by John R. Platt

Gopher tortoises, which are listed as threatened by the federal
government, are native to the Southeastern United States, where they
have made their home in a unique, sandy ecosystem called the longleaf
pine forest
.

These forests, which once covered more than 90 million
acres across the Southeast, have all but disappeared. Today, after more
than 200 years of development, only about 3 percent of historic longleaf
pine forests remain. 

Most of the longleaf forest that still stands—including more than 80
percent of gopher tortoise habitat—exists on privately held lands. To
help both species, the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month
launched a strategy to provide landowners with the tools and resources they need to restore and enhance their pine forests…

(read more: TakePart.org)

photographs via: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service