The U of M is building a prosthetic for a turtle with a bubble butt

Seemore the turtle was hit by a boat, which left her with Bubble Butt Syndrome.
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The University of Minnesota has found a way to help a turtle with a bubble butt.

Seemore the turtle was swimming off the coast of Florida in 2009, when she was hit by a boat, the U of M says. Damage sustained to her shell made it impossible to swim and dive properly as gas would get trapped in the shell, making her bottom float upward – an affliction with an adorable name: Bubble Butt Syndrome.

After being rescued, biologists determined Seemore was un-releasable. The 100-pound Green Sea Turtle now lives at the Sea Life Aquarium in the Mall of America, where the animal care team attaches weights to her shell's scutes (the outer layers of the shell) to help her swim and improve her buoyancy.

But it's not a sustainable solution. Whenever Seemore's scutes shed, the weights fall off. Then the animal care team has to take her out of the exhibit to replace them, causing a lot of stress for the turtle.

That's where the university comes in. Students at the College of Science and Engineering are designing a permanent solution: a prosthetic shell.

The team started the project in June by taking the cutest CT scan ever.

The scan gave the engineering students shell dimensions they'll use to create a 3-D model for Seemore's new shell.

The prosthetic shell will provide a better surface for the aquarium to attach the weights, which can stay on the prosthetic permanently, rather than being attached directly to Seemore's shell.

A student on the team told Minnesota Daily they hope to present possible designs to Sea Life in August.

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