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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 13:00 GMT
Rare reptile in sticky situation
Indian Star tortoise
Indian Star tortoises are very rare
An animal lover has saved the life of a rare tortoise by fixing its cracked shell with window sealant.

Colin Walton, 39, was thrilled when the tiny Indian Star baby hatched from its egg at his home in North Tyneside.

But the tiny tortoise - the size of a 50p - was in distress and Mr Walton was dismayed to see a crack running the length of its shell and blood seeping out.

Quick-thinking Mr Walton grabbed a tube of silicone sealant and, very carefully, applied it to the hairline crack.


He did just the right thing in sealing the crack and I am glad he managed to save its life

John Thorpe, British Chelonia Group

He then placed the baby in an incubator and waited in hope that his DIY repair work had been successful.

The next day the bleeding had stopped and the baby appeared to have made a full recovery.

Mr Walton, who has 17 tortoises, said: "It was wonderful to finally hatch a tortoise after 10 years of trying.

"But I was very concerned when I saw the baby's shell was cracked and there was a spot of blood.

"I didn't hold out much hope but I used silicon window sealant to repair it returned it to the incubator.

"This species rarely breeds in the country and as far as I know only Edinburgh Zoo has hatched one, four years ago."

Conservation efforts

Mr Walton is a member of the Tortoise Trust and the British Chelonia Group and keeps several species, including the Madagascar Radiated, Hermann's and Spur-thighed tortoises.

Imports of the creatures, once a common pet shop purchase, are now controlled for conservation reasons.

John Thorpe, of the British Chelonia Group, said Mr Walton's swift action had saved the baby's life.

"The baby would have been very vulnerable at such a young age, a crack like that can let in infection and lead to death quickly.

"He did just the right thing in sealing the crack and I am glad he managed to save its life."


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See also:

07 Oct 02 | England
22 Aug 02 | South Asia
01 Mar 02 | England
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