Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission had to remind everyone at the end of July that you shouldn’t paint turtle or tortoise shells – it’s illegal. It seems obvious enough. Wild animal? Leave it alone.
Apparently some burgeoning artists need to express their artistic creativity outside the studio and they decided turtles are the perfect canvas. However, it’s extremely dangerous for the turtle.
“While to you it may seem harmless, painting the shells of turtles and tortoises can severely compromise their health,” FWC officials said.
Shells are a vital part of what allow tortoises to absorb the vitamins and minerals they need, as well as UV rays from the sun. Putting anything over their shells would obviously severely hinder this process.
“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,” FWC officials said.