The fastest tortoise on THREE legs: How injured Tonka races around on her toy truck
Last updated at 3:23 PM on 27th May 2009
Meet the tortoise on wheels who could give any hare a run for its money despite having her leg bitten off by a dog.
When vets found the female wild red-footed tortoise her left front leg was in tatters and they feared she would never be able to move properly again.
But after patching her up one rescuer had an ingenious idea to help the little reptile - using wheels from a child's toy truck.
Tonka the tortoise had one of her legs savaged by a dog, but was given a new lease of life after her new owner strapped her up on the wheels of a child's toy truck
Now she has gone from three legs to four wheels and been named Tonka in honour of the toy which gave her a new lease of life.
The reptile is able to roam with ease using her back legs to push her along while steering with her front right leg.
Tonka was found in the hills of San Mateo County, California, USA, by a resident, who dropped her off at the local SPCA branch, Peninsula Humane Society.
Local resident John O'Dea, 35, has now adopted Tonka and said she loved nothing better than roaming in the vegetable patch and going for 'walks'.
John O'Dea is now the proud owner of the red-footed tortoise who was found injured in the hills of San Mateo County, California
'She has a particular fondness for tomatoes.
'I take her for 'walks' regularly around my neighbourhood, I think she likes the speed but I do get a few funny looks.
'We don't know how old Tonka is because she was a wild tortoise, and her species can live for up to 50 years, but she seems happy with her new life.
'When she has the wheels on she can move herself quite well and I think she must be the fastest tortoise around.'
Scott Belucchi, from the Peninsula Humane Society, said that fitting Tonka with the wheels seemed like the best way to give her back her quality of life.
He said: 'We didn't have to operate on her or anything like that, it was just a case of strapping the wheels under her with a tie over her shell.
'It was the first time we have done an operation like this, but it was a great success.
'I think this is certainly unusual but she seems to really like her wheels and even though there are still some dogs out there I think she could make her escape now.'
Red-footed tortoises are usually native to South America, but populations are known to survive in the wild in California.
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