Jump to content

Winky the wonky tortoise given off-road wheel


Recommended Posts

Winky the wonky tortoise given off-road wheel


Last updated at 22:00pm on 17th October 2006

winkytorBM_228x158.jpgTina the three-legged tortoise with her off-road wheel





Winky the three legged tortoise has been given a lift after she was fitted with a suspension system and a pneumatic tyre to help her cope with muddy terrain.

The reptile, aged 54, can now go "off-road" and roam over boggy ground after the 4x4-style system was installed on the underside of her shell.

Winky was fitted with a two inch plastic wheel four years ago to replace her rear right leg which she lost to an unknown predator.

But our increasingly warmer autumns mean Winky hibernates later in the year, leaving her battling to cope with muddy grass and slopes and dead leaves.

So the rudementary wheel has now been replaced with an air-filled tyre and a spring suspension system with shock absorber.

Speedy Winky can now explore areas of her enclosure at Longleat Safari Park, Wilts, which have been out of bounds to her in the past.

The spur thigh tortoise - or Testudo graeca in Latin - was donated to Longleat in 2002 when she developed depression due to her lack of manoeuvrability.

She rapidly recovered after the plastic wheel was fitted but it wore out and buckled over time as she tried to access rougher parts of her enclosure.

Model maker Simon England, of Frome Model Centre, designed the new wheel and suspension system to lessen the wear and tear and give her a leg-up to high ground.

The large rubber wheel and adapted axle has been stuck on to Tina's shell with an animal friendly adhesive.

Darren Beasley, Winky's carer at Longleat, said: "Simon has provided us with a number of back-up wheels over the last couple of years but it soon became clear they weren't up to the job.

"She completely wore down the tread on them and, as she became more adventurous, the wheel would sometimes become caught and the axle bent.

"The new system is incredible and allows Tina to go all over the place. She is one of the oldest tortoises we have here at Longleat but you would never know it.

"She is now among the fastest and certainly making the most of the warm weather prior to hibernating.

"The the combination of the new large tyre and shock absorber means she can cope with rough terrain - even at this time of year.

"We shouldn't have to worry about her either getting stuck or damaging the axle again."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...