‘Twelve’ the tortoise is back at his exhibit at the Dallas Zoo

DALLAS -- It's a welcome home party for a tortoise at the Dallas Zoo.

"Twelve," as he is known, had been out of his exhibit for 16-months after a growth was discovered on one of his legs.

"He had an abnormal growth on one of his hind legs that was rubbing on the shell,"  said Dr. Maren Connolly of Dallas Zoo. "So, the keepers first notice that he was lame and he was dragging that hind limb, and when he came down to the hospital for us to investigate we found the growth that was cutting into his skin and was causing him pain."

And, like many things the surgery came with unforeseen challenges.

"Some of the biggest challenge was just his weight, how many people it took to move him from place to place when we had to do surgery or treat him."

But, after a successful operation and months of rehab, Twelve was ready to be back with his tortoise friends! The folks at the zoo couldn't be happier!

"After seeing him drag that leg for so long and to see him lift up his entire body weight and use all of his legs normally feels really good," said Dr. Conolly.

"Real excited to have him back," said Rustin Hartdegen of Dallas Zoo. "Shout out to the hospital crew, to the keeper staff that took care of him. The wound, if you were to look at it after the surgery site to today, you couldn't even tell there was a surgery. It's been probably the most amazing healing process that I've seen in over 20 years in the zoo field. It's spectacular."

So go visit Twelve and his friends at the Dallas Zoo! He may even show off some new moves for ya!