The summer of 2018 turned out to be a life-changing experience for one special turtle.

A Maryland Zoo employee found the injured creature in a park, and he was in rough shape, to say the least.

With a fractured shell that required surgery, the box turtle already faced a steep challenge. However, he also needed an apparatus to help him rehabilitate.

That’s when Garrett Fraess, one of the zoo’s veterinary externs, began to formulate an idea. He devised a way to help keep the turtle’s lower half off the ground through the ingenious method of building a custom wheelchair.

Only this wheelchair would be built not out of steel but rather a childhood favorite: legos.

Once the wheelchair was complete, the aptly named LEGO Turtle found himself moving freely again.

After about a year of rehabilitation, the turtle’s shell healed to the point where rescuers removed the lego-based device to help him get ready to return to the wild.


Director Ellen Bronson explained the process of helping LEGO Turtle get back on his feet:

“We kept him at the hospital and continued to monitor his progress, giving him ample exercise time to strengthen his legs in preparation for release.”

Ultimately, the turtle spent two years recovering before he finally got back to his natural habitat. However, because box turtles are considered a “declining species,” the zoo equipped LEGO Turtle with a monitor to track his progress.


For Ellen and her team, the moment represented a huge achievement for both man and animal.

“It was a joy for our veterinary team to watch him return to his native habitat today.”

Have you ever helped rescue an animal? What did you do to nurse the animal back to health?

Tell us about your experience in the comments below!