MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – An endangered gopher tortoise is feeling a little less blue after Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were able to capture it and remove the paint that covered its entire body.
FWC officers were called to a residential property in Martin County in reference to an injured tortoise, and when they arrived, they found the reptile painted blue.
Tortoises absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, so having paint or anything else on their shells can inhibit their ability to do that. Additionally, paint can cause respiratory problems and harmful chemicals can be absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream, FWC said.
It’s difficult to remove paint without harming the tortoise, but officials at an animal rehabilitation facility were able to do it and release the tortoise back to its burrow.
FWC urged anyone who sees a painted tortoise or any other vandalized wildlife to contact the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC.