Hercules: Tortoise leg amputation

Meet Hercules: The bionic tortoise!

Diagnosis and treatment

Hercules came to us as an urgent appointment after he managed to damage his leg.

Sadly, the leg itself was not salvageable, and so he was placed under general anaesthesia for the limb to be amputated. Dr Catherine then attached a Lego wheel to his plastron (the underside of his shell) with a special resin to help him with mobility and to keep the bottom of his shell elevated.

He woke up very well after his procedure and went home the same day, where he is charging around as normal and learning how to use his new wheel!

Information for owners

Limbs sometimes require amputation due to trauma, cancers, or infection. Whilst sometimes a stump may be left to help with movement, there is a risk of these stumps becoming traumatised and getting secondary infections, so this is often only done in very small reptiles.

Unfortunately, accidents can always happen that result in an injury.

To reduce the risk of potential trauma to your tortoise, you can make sure that they are not left unsupervised if free-roaming, especially around other pets.

When outside, care should be taken to ensure their environment is fox and rodent proof. For hibernating species, be careful that the insulating bedding material that they are put in does not wrap around their limbs or neck, and if you are using the box hibernation method, ensure that it is rodent-proof.