Mrs. T, a pet tortoise in Wales, is thought to be about 90 years old. Anyone who survives that long must be tough, but not even Mrs. T could have been ready for what happened to her this spring.
The tortoise's owner, Jude Ryder of Pembroke, had placed Mrs. T inside a garden shed in October to hibernate for the winter, according to the BBC. But in April, a rat somehow found its way into the shed and gnawed off Mrs. T's two front legs to the elbow, leaving her hobbled.
When the vet bills became overwhelming, Ryder turned to her son, Dale Sinclar Jones. Mrs. T had been given as a gift to Jones when he was 8 (and she was in her 60s), Wales Online reports, so he was determined to help her. Jones, now a mechanical engineer, simply glued the wheels from a model airplane onto Mrs. T's shell, and now the nonagenarian reptile is fully mobile again.
"She took to her new wheels straight away, but she has had to learn how to turn and stop," Ryder tells Wales Online. "She can get a good speed up, much faster than before."
Rat attacks are apparently not an uncommon threat for British tortoises — in 2013 the country's oldest tortoise, a 130-year-old named Thomas, died following a similar incident. Mrs. T is one of the lucky ones, and she presumably pities the fool who tries to slow her down now.
"Mrs. T is still quite young for a tortoise she could go on for another 50 years," Ryder says. "All she needs is a new set of tyres every now and again."
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