That’s what the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to remind Floridians after two gopher tortoises were found with paint on their shells. They shared pictures of the turtles on Facebook, with a warning that the paint is not only illegal, but harmful to the turtles and tortoises.
“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 announcement said.
The paint also makes the tortoises and turtles more noticeable and vulnerable to predators, according to the Wildlife Commission. There is greater concern for gopher tortoises, which are listed as threatened in the state of Florida and protected under state law.