Septimus, the 23-year-old tortoise was viciously attacked by rats, who chewed at his front legs, as he hibernated in his owners backyard in Hampshire. When he emerged from hibernation his legs were infested with maggots, and vets told Mr.Strand that he would either have to be put down, or have his legs amputated and tiny wheels attached in their place.
‘When he came back up he was in a bad way – his front legs had been gnawed at by rats.
‘He went underground to hibernate and we didn’t know whereabouts in the garden he had gone too,’ said property developer Mr Strand, 49.
‘After taking advice we rushed him to the vets and he had to have his lower front legs amputated.
Mr Strand’s eldest daughter Tabbie, 13, added: ‘His legs were full of maggots when dad found him which wasn’t very nice. He was very lucky to be alive.’
‘He got the hang of moving in it very quickly, although to begin with he was very weak,’ said Mr Strand.
‘You have to keep an eye on him to make sure he is moving ok.
‘Now he can turn himself around and go backwards, something he couldn’t do before.
‘He’s a very sprightly little character and very sociable.’
‘It is usually dogs and foxes who carry out tortoise attacks in hibernation,’ he said.
‘Sometimes a tortoise can get by with only three legs but where two legs have been infected the choice is either an operation like this or sadly they have to be put down.
‘We used fibre glass to attach the wheels onto the shell and chose the wheels from a model airplane because they are right size and shape.
‘The tortoise still needs to be able to touch the floor with its head to eat.’