Box turtles are as pretty as a jewellery box, but it doesn’t mean they should be painted like gemstones.
Still, someone in Texas took a brush to one such critter and covered her shell in hues of pink and blue nail polish.
And now, the animal welfare group, Friends of Texas Wildlife, is sharing photos to warn others against the doing the same.
“It is absolutely NOT safe to paint a tortoise’s shell as it poses many dangers and can ultimately be fatal,” the group posted on Facebook recently.
The animal was brought to the Magnolia-based group on May 15.
“Someone sadly painted her shell with many coats and colors of nail polish,” it explained. “Although made of keratin like human fingernails, a tortoise shell allows chemicals to leech into the tortoise’s body.”
Paint and nail polish can contain toxic chemicals
“This can make a tortoise ill or even cause death,” the group added. “Paint or nail polish prevents tortoises and turtles from absorbing vitamins from the sun, and it also destroys their natural camouflage.”
The nail polish was removed, but it left her shell rather damaged.
The tortoise was also very thin and dehydrated.
But the group hopes with proper food and UV rays, she’ll recover and be able to be returned to the wild.
It shared the photos to educate people.
“We are confident this wasn’t done to be intentionally cruel, but rather by someone who just didn’t know better,” the facility added.
But it prompted an outpouring of confessions from people who did the same — or allowed their children to do so — not realizing it would harm the animal.
Friends of Texas Wildlife also heard from the people who painted this particular tortoise.
“Box turtles don’t roam that far and typically stay within 1/4 mile of where they are born,” the group explained. “We have been contacted by the people who painted this one, which correlates with where she was found, so that’s good as we now know we can release her once she’s healed.”