Someone painted a tortoise red, and wildlife officials are seeing red

Author: 10News Staff, WTSP
Photo via FWC/ WTSP

Someone thought it would funny to paint a gopher tortoise red. Wildlife officials aren’t laughing.

The tortoise was found in the middle of County Road 455, south of Montverde, coated in red spray paint and with concrete on its limbs and the top of its shell, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. Fortunately, two good Samaritans spotted it and took it to a wildlife rehabber.

It is both illegal and harmful to apply man-made substances, such as paint or concrete, to any part of a tortoise’s body or shell. Applying substances like paint on tortoises can inhibit their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, has the potential to cause respiratory problems and can lead to harmful chemicals being absorbed into their bloodstream.

Removing paint and concrete from gopher tortoises without harming it is a challenging process that causes the animal stress, officials said.

Gopher tortoises are state-listed as Threatened and are a protected species. Rules and regulations regarding gopher tortoises can be found here:

If you have any information about who may have put the paint and concrete on the tortoise, please call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922), use the hashtag #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone, or text/email Tips can be made anonymously.

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