More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Wildlife Wednesday: Here’s an Update on Native Gopher Tortoise ‘Wheels’

Dr. Mark Penning

by , Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

Wheels face

Remember Wheels, the native gopher tortoise who found himself at our veterinary hospital? A car-strike injury to his shell made it difficult for him to move around, and our team attached LEGO blocks with wheels to the bottom of his shell to help him walk. Of course, his nickname “Wheels” soon followed.

Wheels healed well, and I am proud to report that he is now back in the wild. We attached a telemetry device to his shell so we can track his whereabouts and make sure that he is coping out there. This kind of data is very valuable to our conservation team and helps us learn much more about this protected species.


  • Disney ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Loved this happy ending! So glad that Wheels found his way to help from such kind and caring people.

  • What a great story. Congratulations to the team that took care of Wheels! Hope he continues to do well.

Comments are closed.