MONTVERDE, Fla. (AP) – The spray-painted Florida tortoise who became an Internet sensation this week is back to its normal color.
The tortoise was completely covered in red spray paint and the animal’s limbs were covered in concrete. The people who found the tortoise took it to an animal rehabilitation facility. The director says he’s sleeping soundly and curious about his new environment.
Tortoises are cold-blooded animals that use their shells to control their body temperatures. The Orlando Sentinel reports a layer of paint can severely obstruct that ability. The animals also have veins and nerves running through their shell. Wildlife officials say it’s illegal and harmful to the health of a gopher tortoise to apply man-made substances to it. Toxins from the paint also can leach into the tortoise and affect its internal organs.
The tortoise will be released in about 10 days.