Tortoise gets artificial wheel at vet hospital

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS | July 20, 2011 | 8:00 PM EDT

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Watch out Mr. Hare, this tortoise has a wheel.

A 12-year-old African tortoise that recently had a front leg amputated due to injury is now moving just fine, thanks to a swiveling wheel attached to his shell by surgeons at Washington State University's veterinary hospital.

Officials at WSU say the 23-pound tortoise, named Gamera after the giant flying turtle of the old Japanese monster movie, is gaining weight and generally thriving with his new appendage.

Veterinary hospital spokesman Charlie Powell said the wheel allows Gamera to move on flat and lumpy surfaces.