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Published: Monday, August 08, 2016 @ 5:02 PM
Updated: Monday, August 08, 2016 @ 5:02 PM
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission put out a warning on its Facebook page on Wednesday, urging people to never paint the shells of turtles and gopher tortoises, as doing so is illegal.
"While to you it may seem harmless, painting the shells of turtles and tortoises can severely compromise their health -- the paint can hinder their ability to absorb vitamins they need from the sun, cause respiratory problems, allow toxic chemicals into the bloodstream and more," the warning said.
FWC said cleaning the paint off of a tortoise's shell may take several sessions, may not remove all the paint fully, and sometimes, the animal has to be sedated.
"If you come across a turtle, or tortoise, with paint on its shell, do not attempt to remove the paint yourself," the FWC said. "Instead, contact the FWC regional office near you to find a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area, or to speak to an FWC gopher tortoise or a wildlife assistance biologist."
Suspected wildlife violations can be reported to FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).