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Turtle gets artificial legs

By Mike White     Sep 23, 2013 in Science
Kobe - A 200-pound female turtle in Japan has received artificial legs after being attacked by a shark. Yu, the loggerhead seat turtle, was brought to Suma Aqualife park by animal lovers and fitted with artificial limbs after the attack.
According to, although quite a few attempts have been made worldwide to attach artificial limbs to turtles, this was the first such operation in which the animal could successfully swim afterward.
"Similar attempts have been made to attach artificial limbs to turtles around the world," according to Naoki Kamezaki, the curator of the museum said in the interview quoted by The curator added that this is the "only" case in which a turtle was able to swim afterward.
A black vest with the rubber flippers attached was slipped over Yu's head. Other flippers that had been squeezed over Yu's humps proved to be too painful for the turtle.
Loggerhead turtles often swim as much as 8,000 miles across the ocean before returning home. The creatures use the earth's magnetic field to navigate and are sensitive to even a slight difference in the field.
The turtles are threatened by propellers from ships, fishing nets and warm ocean currents and are listed as an endangered species. They can swim across the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean before returning to the beach they were born on. One problem is that such beaches are often now used for development. In addition, even though sharks rarely attack people, they often attack turtles.
Yu is a tourist attraction at the aquarium near the Japanese city of Kobe. Some believe she is now 25 and may live to 50. According to, has had 27 pairs of artificial limbs.
"We have worked hard to design the vest in a way that prevents the turtle from taking off unwittingly," the curator said, according to
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