Zoo Knoxville turtle receives prosthetic mask

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – An endangered turtle at Zoo Knoxville has a new lease on life after being fit for a prosthetic mask.

Patches, a black-breasted turtle, is part of a breeding program at the zoo. Last year, she developed a hole in her nostril caused by an infection.

(Courtesy: Zoo Knoxville via Facebook)

Veterinarians were able to get the infection under control, but were worried the hole could lead to more problems.

Teams used CT scans to design the custom mask, which was printed with a 3-D printer.

(Courtesy: Zoo Knoxville via Facebook)

“It’s all one kind of unit that hopefully won’t fall off,” explained Dr. Andrew Cushing with UT College of Veterinary Medicine. “It just gives us another option. It’s another nice material that is resistant. We could use it for a number of things – bird beaks are the first thing that springs to mind.”

Patches is adjusting well to her prosthetic mask. She is on public view at Zoo Knoxville.