Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tortoise Flipper

To correct one of nature's mistakes.
  [vote for,

My tortoise Amy often flips himself over. He walks over to a wall or object that is much taller than him, climbs up it until he's teetering on his tail, and flips. The first thing I do when I get home is check to see if Amy has flipped himself again. I have no idea how this behavio(u)r evolved, and am honestly amazed there are any tortoises left on the planet.

I propose a simple device consisting of a flipping arm, a motor, a battery, and a button. This device will be attached to the top of a tortoise, with the button facing up. When the button is pushed it means that Amy has flipped himself over again and the arm is extended, righting my tortoise.

Again, credit for the seed of this idea goes to "Caroushell".

Worldgineer, Mar 25 2003

Central Asian tortoise http://coloherp.org...ussianTortoise.html
See "Courting and Reproduction" for how males attempt to flip each other over. [pottedstu, Oct 14 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Sulcata tortoises http://www.reptilem...sheets/sulcata.html
"Care must be taken to assure they are not given the opportunity to climb things that are too steep resulting in their toppling over. If they flip onto their backs and are not able to right themselves, they may die of hyperthermia if they do it during the hottest part of the day. They may also choke or drown on their own vomit if they panic. They may lose precious water by voiding urates and thus become seriously dehydrated. Suffocation is also a possibility if they are left upside down too long as their lungs, which are near the top of their carapace, are compressed by the weight of their internal organs." [pottedstu, Oct 14 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Tortoise Shell Games http://www.halfbake...ise_20Shell_20Games
Another wonder full shell mod [Worldgineer, Oct 14 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Tortoise Reverse http://www.halfbake.../Tortoise_20Reverse
And another [Worldgineer, Oct 14 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Ugh. I just remembered a nature documentary that scarred me as a child. A tortoise had flipped over onto its back, and the camera operator had the nerve to film its slow death in the sun rather than step in to save it. While I understand the imperative not to interfere with nature's course, I still have a fundamental problem with this act of bastardy.

       Amy is very fortunate to have found a compassionate mad inventor for an owner.
brenna, Mar 25 2003

       Nature (evolution, God, whatever) doesn't make mistakes, in my opinion. Of course, we save critters that are in trouble. Well, some of us do, but I don't think the fate of an individual creature is terribly important in the big picture.   

       Anyhoot, if tortoises are going to die out because they don't have flippers, they'll either die out or grow flippers (or wings, but that's not very likely; let's check on their progress in a few million years). I guess I mean that if they needed flippers, they'd already have them, or else they wouldn't be here.   

       I propose that the present idea will ultimately weaken rather than strengthen tortoises' position in the world by making them reliant on an artificial advantage, keeping in mind that preservation of the species is (arguably, I guess) more important than preservation of any individual tortoise.   

       I'm sorry to take this idea so much more seriously than was probably intended.
snarfyguy, Mar 25 2003

       [snarfy] Wait a second here. Tortoises have been around for millions of years, and this behavior will far outlast me (actually, Amy's expected to live well into the 2080s, so she alone will outlast me). Perhaps in nature this wacky flipping is useful for some porpoise I don't understand. However, my tortoise is captive and out of nature's intended environment. I propose this device not for all wild tortoises, but for captive pets who must get panicky and perhaps bored being flipped over the entire time I'm at woik.   

       [blissy] Yes, it is meant to be self-operating. The button is pressed by the ground, not me. Also, I'm sorry for your loss - that must have been scarring.
Worldgineer, Mar 25 2003

       Mind you, [snarfy], we have already thwarted natural selection in humans with the aid of various technologies.   

       Dratitude. I have been serious again! Must flip myself (in a purely recreational sort of way).
brenna, Mar 25 2003

       If keeping a "wild" animal in your home may cause it to die then perhaps it shouldn't be kept. But that's no fun.
snarfyguy, Mar 25 2003

       Amy won't die from flipping - it just stresses him out. He flails his legs about like crazy until you flip him over or he gets tired/bored/accepts his fate. Well, I guess bliss's turtle died, but we won't lose 10" long Amy anywhere inside the house.
Worldgineer, Mar 25 2003

       "Pets are always a great help in times of stress. And in times of starvation too, o'course."   

       Terry Pratchett
sambwiches, Mar 25 2003

       Ha! Can't stop giggling at the imagery. Maybe put a flipper on each side for a wild, wild ride.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       How about a "Lifealert" pager on your tortoises back, whenever the lil bugger flips on its back it sends a signal to the 911 dispatcer for assistance.......
theThinker, Mar 26 2003

       Instead of going to all the trouble of a motorised flipper, why not simply stick a sink plunger on Amy's back? The long handle (I reckon about 2' should do it) would mean that even in the worst flip, he's never more than about 10° from righting himself - easily within the bounds of wriggling, I should think.   

       Better still, put a 12" diameter parasol on the top of the handle: then he will naturally return to upright every time, and he has a handy sunshade too.
friendlyfire, Mar 26 2003

       “Frigging hell”, thought Amy's mate, as she tried vainly to wrestle free from the satiated tortoise and flip over to her feet. "Why do I always let him talk me into the missionary position?"
FarmerJohn, Mar 26 2003

       Only a replicant could fishbone this.
my face your, Mar 26 2003

       Flipping itself over is, I'm guessing here, not a common behaviour of tortoises in the wild. Self destructive behaviour of a captive animal may indicate loneliness or boredom. Get another tortoise to keep Amy company or, better, release him back into the wild. Incidentally, as nobody else has asked this seemingly obvious question, why has your male tortoise got a girl's name?
DrBob, Mar 26 2003

       Maybe tortoises need a symbiotic relationtionship with another animal. It sits proud on the shell going, 'Wheeeee!' with the wind ruffling its fur. In exchange for this exciting joy-ride the little animal will help right the tortoise in case of inversion.   

       Alternatively superglue two tortoises back to back. No, sorry, wrong. So, so wrong.
st3f, Mar 26 2003

       That's it, St3f! but why stop at two? I see the ultimate in tortoise stability - a feet-outward tortoise bucky-ball. Further experiments will undoubtedly uncover a variety of potential tortoise allotopes.
friendlyfire, Mar 26 2003

       Tortoise balls. As in hamster.
egbert, Mar 26 2003

       Wouldn't a button on top of the female which, when pushed, activates a flipper make mating an impossibility?   

       [sneaky thought: training wheels for tortoises]
st3f, Mar 26 2003

       That, or penguins.
st3f, Mar 26 2003

       It didn't take long for Battle Bots to evolve this capability, I'm surprised turtles haven't by now. Maybe there's a turtle AAA (BAA?) we don't know about.
phoenix, Mar 26 2003

       I haven't kept tortoises, but every turtle I've ever had has been able to right itself after flipping over. I have to believe that either you have a duff tortoise, or (like a cat stuck in a tree) you aren't giving it long enough to correct the situation on its own.   

       So, I'm sorry, fishbone for a one-off solution.
DrCurry, Mar 26 2003

       //I propose that the present idea will ultimately weaken rather than strengthen tortoises' position in the world by making them reliant on an artificial advantage//   

       We are talking about an act of mercy for one tortoise, not a sweeping, pan-species, multi-generational influence.   

       I am wholeheartedly in favor of this idea. (+)
FloridaManatee, Mar 26 2003

       [Curry] Trust me, if you ever saw poor Amy with his legs flailing it would be patently obvious that there is no way in tortoise hell he'll flip over. If you don't believe me, brenna can refer you to a fine, though cruel, documentary on the subject.   

       [friendly](re: plunger) Interesting, but she loves to hide out in her cave (a pot that's been half buried), and this would make it impossible.   

       [DrBob](re: self-destructive behaviour) I think it has more to do with the lack of a reverse mechanism on a tortoise. More about that when I get around to my idea named "Install Tortoise Reverse". Oh, and we named him before we knew he was a he.   

       Let me take a moment to bask in my first double croissant. Amy would be proud (then eat them). How does the double croissant song go again?
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       I read that first sentence as "My tortoise army..."
egbert, Mar 26 2003

       Has anyone ever posted an idea for halfbakery glasses? Egbert seems to have a common problem.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       Ah, Worldgineer, so what they really need is a roller-ball type thingy on the underside of their shells, so that they can just rotate themselves on the spot and face in the required direction of travel.
DrBob, Mar 26 2003

       It would have to be some sort of off-road ball as he lives in dirt.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       I still see dirt issues. Perhaps more appropriate for my not-yet-fleshed-out "Tortoise Version of the Goldfish Ball" idea.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       He lives in a tank, war or no war. Although the concept of tortoise tank treads is intriguing (on the tortoise, not a tank tread made of tortoises you sick bastards).
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       //halfbakery glasses// oh I love your humour [world] all this flipping tortoises about worries me. I think they should have little cushions - kimono style to soften the blow.
po, Mar 26 2003

       I see your concern, but I was thinking more of a slow flip - not the high-flying type suggested by others. Add that to the fact that he lives on soft dirt and moss, and I think he'll be fine.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       //..tortoises come with their own 'bowl', too..//
Use a substrate to provide depth and traction to help Amy right her elf if she flips over. Slate or rough flattish stones, etc. under hot spots offer natural basking slopes and help flip her elf back if the worst happens. Do not feed directly under basking lamps. That goes for you *and* Amy.
thumbwax, Mar 26 2003

       Why don’t you just install a stabilizing gyroscope? It would keep him horizontal most of the time, and if he did manage to tilt up against a wall, he would precess around, which would solve the reversing problem.
AO, Mar 26 2003

       (picturing Amy, balanced on tail and hind legs, precessing slowly) This might fit better under my Tortoise Shell Games idea.
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003

       // tortoise buckyball //   

       Now, if we put the hamster inside...
RayfordSteele, Mar 26 2003

       inside the tortoise?
po, Mar 26 2003

       Why dress Amy in two pairs of lead boots (like what divers used to wear)? That way he’d be less likely to flip over, and if he did, the added inertia on his feet would make his flailing less futile.
AO, Mar 26 2003

       A couple of HB-related solutions:   

       The "SUV stabiliser" has much in common with Amy's problem, and seems to share several solutions.   

       Let Amy live in the fourth sphere of the "Orbital Entertainment Complex". In a weightless environment, there's no perceptible "up", and thus no "upside-down". Problem solved!
friendlyfire, Mar 26 2003

       (snicker) I would think after reading this page he would run (slowly) away in terror.   

       [mia] I have a dog but she doesn't have access to Amy's tank. I do like the idea though. Maybe in nature tortoises wait expectantly for their little-known-friend the canine to come along and flip them for some frisbee fun.   

       [RT] Perhaps they're waiting paitiently for us to give them a boost with genetic engineering?
Worldgineer, Mar 26 2003


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