The video: When Gamera — a tortoise with an severely burned front leg — was turned over to Washington State University's veterinary hospital in April, doctors weren't sure how to help. They decided to amputate the leg of the 12-year-old African spur-thighed tortoise before an infection spread, raising the question: How would Gamera move about? The solution came not from a high-tech medical research lab, but from a neighborhood Ace hardware store, where vets found a $7 furniture caster that they affixed to the tortoise's shell with epoxy glue. (Watch the video below.) Before the operation, Gamera (named after a flying turtle from a Japanese monster movies) was kept alive using a feeding tube, but he's now able to "walk-and-roll" across a lawn to nibble on grass and other tortoise delicacies.
The reaction: "I don't know whether he'd pass the hare, but he moves around very well," says Charlie Powell, spokesman for the WSU veterinary hospital, at The Huffington Post. The university reports that Gamera is eating well and has gained a few pounds since his procedure; he now weighs in at 23 pounds. African tortoises can tip the scale at over 200 pounds and live to be 50 years or older. "Nobody knew what we were going to be able to do with him, with burns as severe as what he had," says Dr. Nickol Finch, a WSU specialist in exotic animals, as quoted by NPR. "To see him now, doing fantastic and eating like a little pig, does a whole lot of good for the heart." Watch Gamera in action: