By Mark McConville
MEET THE adorable tortoise that’s taking the internet by storm by moving past his deformity to live a new life on wheels.
Helix has racked up more than 60k followers on Instagram @helixwheels since he hatched at the end of July.
The marginated tortoise was born with a spinal deformity meaning his back legs point up into the air and he’s unable to use them to walk.
To combat this, his owner Randy Betz JR glues a small set of wheels from a fingerboard onto his shell once a week to allow him to freely move about.
“Once a week Helix gets his wheels removed,” he said.
“I let him soak up some natural sun for 30 minutes and then he gets a new set of wheels.
“Helix goes outside often to get some natural sun, which is very healthy for him. Helix needs proper UVB to help grow strong.
“I can’t have a water bowl in his enclosure because he can’t get in it. And I’m afraid he would drown if he did get in it. So I soak to keep him hydrated. Number one death of baby tortoises is dehydration.”
Helix has a range of wheels to choose from and Randal attaches them to him using adhesive glue dots.
Randal believes Helix can offer some inspiration to people and gets sent drawings of his pet by children and adults alike.
“Life is like Helix; in some views, there is nothing wrong, in other views, there are many struggles that are hidden,” he said.
“Don’t let certain setbacks stop your life. It doesn’t matter how fast you move towards your goals and dreams, as long as you are moving towards them.
“Never give up; it’s not fair to you. Helix is always moving forward, slow and steady, but always forward and he never looks back.”
The marginated tortoise is the largest European tortoise. The marginated tortoise is herbivorous, and hibernates for the winter. It can reach a length of 14 inches but Felix is expected to only grow to around seven inches.
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/helixwheels/