Arthritic penguin's acupuncture relief

What happens when Happy Feet get arthritis?

Acupuncture, of course!

Well, that is if you're a penguin as lucky as Teddy, the rockhopper, from the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. The cute little fella with his golden crown was found stranded on a Western Cape beach in 1999 and taken to the aquarium for rehabilitation.

According to Renée Leeuwner, Assistant Communications and Sustainability Manager at the aquarium, staff suspected that Teddy's feet had been bound together for a long time, perhaps while being held on a fishing vessel, after they noticed that he had a limp and suffered from arthritis.

"To ease the pressure on his feet, we keep a very close eye on his weight, he is carried between the penguin areas and we encourage him to swim as much as possible. The cold water seems to relieve the swelling, and helps Teddy to move with more ease," Renée explained in a recent blog post.

Apart from undergoing an operation on his right foot, he's also had pulse magnetic therapy and is currently undergoing an extended series of acupuncture treatments. To keep him strong and healthy, he receives daily doses of herbal supplements.

"I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and efficiently the needles were inserted, and how Teddy didn't seem to even notice them," Renee said about the acupuncture.

Photos: Renée Leeuwner