Tiny tortoise to get 3D printed prosthetics - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Tiny tortoise to get 3D printed prosthetics

WEST POINT, VA (WWBT) -

A tiny tortoise is getting back on her feet with the help of 3D printed prosthetic legs.

Bump is a one-year-old Sulcata tortoise and has lived most of her life with Thom Rohde and Maria Roco. The couple was at a VCU game in February when they came home to find smoke in their home.

At first, they couldn't find the source. They then realized it was coming from Bump's cage, where her bedding had caught on fire and was smoldering. Her legs and bottom shell were badly burned, causing severe damage.

The couple believes the positioning of the heat lamp caught the fiber on fire, even though they had a bulb with the proper wattage in place.

"Not only did Bump get hurt, but we could have lost our house," explained Rohde as he showed where the table was burnt underneath the cage.

Rohde put Bump in water to soothe the burns and they rushed her to an emergency vet.

"The vet said if she lives out the week, she's lucky," recalled Rohde.

Not only did Bump live, but she was determined to get going again. Slowly but surely she took her turtle time. Within a month, she was acting like her spunky self and regularly sees a vet.

During a recent visit, Rohde pitched the idea about 3D printed prosthetic legs and his vet got the ball rolling.

According to Rohde, the vet at Noah's Ark Veterinary Hospital knows an archeologist with Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation. Through the group's efforts, they were able to scan and photograph Bump's legs and are working to get her some 3D printed prosthetics.

In the meantime, they need another Sulcata tortoise around the same age to work as a model for how the legs should look.

They also hope to find a 3D printer for long-term use as Bump continues to grow. She can live to be 80 years old and potentially weigh 90 pounds.

Bump needs her legs and claws not only to walk, but also to help tear apart food to eat and to flip herself over in the event she ends up on her back.

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