Patches, a 30-year-old black-breasted leaf turtle in residence at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, is the proud new owner of a very tiny 3-D printed facemask.
Zoo staff noticed a year ago that Patches had mysteriously developed a hole on her face near her nostril. After a year of performing painstakingly detailed monthly cleanings, they turned to technology for a more innovative solution to prevent infection. After a detailed CT scan, they were able to print a facemask that would keep the hole covered while still allowing Patches to eat. It is held in place with some resin and a screw and allows her to show local pride thanks to a little embossed University of Tennessee, Knoxville logo.
“She’s doing great,” said the zoo’s herpetology curator, Michael Ogle. “She looks a little odd, but she’s still a good-looking young lady.”