Is painting tortoises funny? No, but it is illegal


Someone in the Port St. Lucie, Fla., area has been painting the shells of gopher tortoises, a legally protected species, according to veterinarians at the Animal Hospital of West Port St. Lucie, where the staff is carefully removing pink paint from a tortoise's shell. Painting a tortoise's shell makes it more vulnerable to predators, blocks ultraviolet light absorption and causes respiratory problems, says veterinarian Leonard Fox, and it is illegal to harass threatened species, including gopher tortoises.

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