A leopard tortoise named Cleopatra is wearing a prosthetic shell thanks to 3D printing technology. Cleopatra's shell suffers from a condition known as either "pyramiding" or "peaking," which means that her shell has raised sections rather than being smooth.
Rather than the smooth shell on turtles not afflicted, her shell has raised sections which can wear easily and are susceptible to infection. According to the Huffington Post, Nico Novelli, owner of Canyon Critters Reptile Rescue in Golden, CO, had the shell built because he knew "something had to be done."
The shell was designed by Colorado Technical University student and US Air Force veteran Roger Henry. The prosthetic took hundreds of hours of design, Henry said, but should help Cleopatra to heal.
Novelli believes Cleopatra was fed a diet too high in protein, which could have led to the condition.
Tortoises are herbivores, and many reptile owners don't properly educate themselves on care and diet. "It's almost standard," Novelli said.