Florida Fish & Wildlife is reminding everyone to stop painting on turtle or tortoise shells as it can pose a danger to their health.
“While to you it may seem harmless, painting the shells of turtles and tortoises can severely compromise their health,” Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation officials said.
The paint on the shell can hinder their ability to absorb vitamins they need from the sun. It can also cause respiratory problems, allow toxic chemicals into the bloodstream.
“Gopher tortoises and freshwater turtles get vitamins they need to grow and stay healthy by absorbing the sun’s UV rays through their shells – paint or nail polish can block these needed rays. Paint fumes can also cause respiratory problems, and chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the shell. In addition, a painted tortoise or turtle is more easily noticed by predators, making them more vulnerable to predation,” Florida wildlife officials said.
Painting on a wildlife species can get you in trouble with the law as its illegal.
If you happen to notice a turtle or tortoise with paint on its shell, officials don’t want you to try to remove the paint yourself. They would like you to contact the FWC regional office near you to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area.