Sherman the tortoise loves to interact with dandelion. On a typical sunny day, he can be found walking around in a field full of the plant at his Magnetic Hill Zoo home, Moncton.
The tortoise is an African sulcate aged 24 years and the only other thing he enjoys, other than the dandelions, is sweet potatoes and watermelon.
He came to his current home from an Ontario rescue five years ago.
Then, he had health issues but managed to health quite fast, acclimatize to his new home, and even made a friend.
Gabrielle Jacob, the zoo’s veterinarian tech, said a while he started showing signs of poor mobility and would spend close to 8 hours in one spot.
His blood work did not provide them anything conclusive. They tried CT scans but that was a huge challenge as his shell is very dense for x-rays to pass through. He could not fit into the CT scan machine at the animal care center.
They took him to the Atlantic Veterinary College, P.E.I, where they have a bigger CT scan machine. The results showed he had a mass on his back. They could not do a biopsy to determine the nature of the mass.
The zoo’s director, Jill Marvin, says they are treating his condition with antifungals and antibiotics. Thus far, he seems to be responding to treatment.
While everyone worried about his health, other staff were trying to figure out how to help him move about. They developed a makeshift wheelchair with the help of a local carpenter.
Weight about 80kg, he needs the effort of two people to lift and place his bulk on the cart.
He has been at the zoo’s medical facility. But they hope he will be back to his home as soon as they make it cart-friendly.