Tortoises are one of the best pets for people who want a long living companion who doesn’t require much care. These adorable critters may not be the most playful, but their personalities are so much fun to watch it more than makes up for it.
These reptiles may live a long time but they require proper care to live to their full potential. Tortoises need a balanced diet of vegetables and grasses to live up to their full potential. Sadly, many people don’t do the research required before taking in one of these awesome creatures and will feed them dog or cat food. Luckily for one tortoise in Golden, Colorado she was turned over to a rescue when her owner didn’t take the time to research her needs.
Cleopatra is Leopard tortoise who was relinquished to Canyon Critter Reptile Rescue, and is now trying to overcome the difficulties caused by poor nutrition. As a result of that poor nutrition that Cleopatra endured as a young tortoise, her shell has formed tall pyramids that are atypical of a tortoise shell.
As Cleopatra played with other tortoises, her shell opened up on the top of the pyramids because of how much pressure was being placed on them. The open wounds on her shell have left her vulnerable to bacteria and infections. That isn’t the only consequence from the poor nutrition however. If Cleopatra were to fall off a rock or end up rolled onto her back, she would have no way to right herself. Normally, a turtle or tortoise would be able to roll themselves back onto their stomach but with her pyramid shaped shell, she has no chance of that.
A student at Colorado Technical University heard about Cleopatra’s plight and knew he wanted to help the plucky little tortoise. Roger Henry dedicated hundreds of hours of his time to working on a shell for Cleopatra and finally came up with a design for her. The prosthetic shell was custom made to fit on top of her shell.
The prosthetic allows Cleopatra to behave like a normal tortoise without fear of infection! Thanks to the dedication of one caring volunteer, Cleopatra is now safe and able to live a normal life.
Cleopatra is now on an appropriate diet in the hopes that as she ages her shell will be able to fix itself. Leopard tortoises can live to be 80 years old, so she has plenty of time for it to heal.
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