Whenever we think about forest fires, we think about devastation. Everything is left in ruins, including any houses that it might encounter. In the case of many animal species, many lives are usually lost as they cannot find anywhere to run. Forest fires occur in many places and affect all sorts of animals. The animal in our next video almost loses his life. It’s a tortoise who has lost his shell.
As you know, the tortoise’s shell provides more than a home for the animal. It’s a very effective way of protecting himself from possible predators. If a predator gets near him, the tortoise will just hide inside the shell. After many tries, the predator will get frustrated and leave the animal there. It also serves as protection from falling objects because these animals are a little bit on the slow side. Being so slow has its advantages. Large predators are used to watching out for fast movements. A tortoise’s colors help him blend into his surroundings and not be seen.
This is maybe one of the reasons that they get to live so long. Of the many varieties of turtles that exist, some of them live over 100 years. And they do it without missing a beat! Whenever their shells are taken away from them, the animals are left exposed in their most vulnerable time. The tortoise’s body is actually very soft. If a predator gets access to it, the animal has no chance whatsoever.
A forest fire in Brazil affected many animals. Among them was a cute little tortoise. The problem was that he had lost about 85% of his shell. He had also spent about 45 days looking for food and not being able to find any. If this tiny animal wasn’t helped soon, he wouldn’t get to live all those years.
Scientists in Brazil decided to do something that had never been done before. It was a very ambitious project but could be changing that animal’s life. They decide to build a brand-new shell. They would design it and then print it using a 3-D printer. Cicero Moraes used a computer program along with specialized equipment to create a 3-D model of the shell. The shell was modeled after another tortoise. The shell was created in four pieces made from a special plastic. This plastic is made from corn!
They finish the shell and fit him with it. It’s a perfect fit but there is something about the white plastic finish that is not working for the tortoise. This is when an artist named Uri Caldera volunteers to paint the shell to make it look more realistic. After the shell is painted, you can almost not tell that is not the real thing. Click on the video to see the amazing story!